Jean-Pierre Melville’s film about a small group of WWII Resistance fighters is undeniably a spy film. Yet it is strikingly unlike other spy films. Bursts of action happen only between long stretches of mostly silent waiting. The heroes make no perceptible progress against the enemy, managing little more than survival before inevitable betrayal and death.
It’s hard to imagine Ernst Lubitsch making something that isn’t a classy, urbane romantic comedy. "Heaven Can Wait" (1943) is an odd duck, though. For example, not many romantic comedies begin in Hell. Yet, it is here that we, and His Excellency, played by the devilish Laird Cregar, meet Henry Van Cleve (smoothie Don Ameche).
This was Delon’s first big movie, and even if he weren’t very good, you can see why. But Delon is shockingly good. His Tom Ripley is a criminal novice. Much of the pleasure of both Highsmith’s first Ripley novel and of "Purple Noon" is watching Tom come into his own as a sociopath.