February 25th, 2011: Alphaville (1965)

Cast and Crew: Akim Tamiroff

What It’s About: Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) travels to Alphaville under an assumed identity.  His mission is to find and eliminate Professor Von Braun (Howard Vernon), the creator of Alpha 60.  The Alpha 60 is the computer that controls the city, suppressing inconvenient things like love and inquiry.  Can Caution navigate this dangerous city long enough to accomplish his mission and escape?

Why Watch it Today?: Lead Eddie Constantine died today in 1993.  Constantine was an American expatriate who lived in France and acted in scores of low-budget French crime and spy thrillers, including seven Lemmy Caution films made prior to Alphaville.  Unlike those films, Alphaville was directed by Jean Luc Godard, and Constanine’s casting here fits in with Godard’s toying with pop culture.  Alphaville makes no attempt to give us a “world of the future”, as Godard had neither the inclination or budget to do so.  Instead we get contemporary Paris standing in for Alphaville.  Depending on how open you are to these conceits (and Godard), you will either find the film frustrating or wonderfully entertaining.  Constanine fits into the proceedings far better than one might expect a pulp film actor to, and the beautiful Anna Karina is on hand as Natacha, von Braun’s daughter.

Where to Get It:  Rent it at iTunes, Netflix, or buy it at Amazon

The Trailer:

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