Le clan des Siciliens (The Sicilian Clan). 1969. France. Directed by Henri Verneuil. Written by Verneuil, Jose Giovanni, Pierre Pelegri, from a novel by Auguste Le Breton. With Jean Gabin, Alain Delon, Lino Ventura, Irina Demick. In French; English subtitles. 35mm. 121 min.
The combination of three legends of French cinema—Ventura, Alain Delon, and Jean Gabin—is reason enough to see this expensively produced crime thriller from 1969, yet director Henri Veneuil doesn’t generate much heat from his stars, who remain largely isolated in subplots of their own. The plot, from a novel by Auguste Le Breton (Rififi) is centered on a wildly unlikely attempt to steal a shipment of valuable jewelry by hijacking a jumbo jet and landing it on a deserted stretch(?) of what appears to be the Long Island Expressway. Still, Ventura’s farewell to his old friend and mentor Gabin in the film’s final scene is touching; it was the last of the six films they made together.