“The French filmmaker Georges Lautner, best known for directing popular crime movies and comedies, has died in Paris aged 87,” reports the RFI. “Lautner, who directed around 50 films during a career spanning 60 years,” is probably “best known for directing the 1963 box-office hit Les Tontons flingueurs (Crooks in Clover), a comedy starring Lino Ventura and Bernard Blier. Audiences warmed to the movie’s quick-fire wit between the aging gangsters, and to this day, French people still quote classic one-liners from the film, which is regularly shown as a re-run on French television. Lautner’s popular movies, although not always liked by critics, drew hundreds of thousands of viewers to movie theaters. He also directed cinema legends such as Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon, and Mireille Darc.”
“He made his first film La Mome aux Boutons in 1958, but his career really took off in 1960 and 1961 with Marche ou Creve, starring Bernard Blier,” notes the AFP.
Deadline adds that Lautner “last directed 1992’s Stranger in the House which starred Jean-Paul Belmondo with whom he worked often, including in 1981’s The Professional and 1979’s Flic ou voyou (Cop or Hood). Lautner also directed Robert Mitchum in 1990’s Presumed Dangerous. The son of actress Renée Saint-Cyr, he was born in Nice, France in 1926 and after moving to Paris made The Black Monocle which got him noticed by legendary Gaumont producer Alain Poiré who backed him to direct Les Tontons flingueurs.”
More (in French) from Jean-Michel Frodon.
Update, 12/6: Ronald Bergan for the Guardian: “‘I didn’t want glory or to make masterpieces but popular films that would please the greatest number,’ [Lautner] once explained. ‘International recognition didn’t interest me. I was passionate at what I did with my faithful team. We made the films we wanted as quickly as possible. But with time, my commercial films appear almost intellectual.’ Lautner’s underestimated films were never invited to Cannes until, in 2012, the festival put together a belated ‘Homage to Georges Lautner.’ His death prompted President François Hollande to declare that his films had ‘become part of the cinematic heritage of our country.'”