L’Arme a Gauche (The Dictator's Guns). 1965. France. Directed by Claude Sautet. Written by Sautet, Fouli Elia, Michael Levine, from a novel by Charles Williams. With Lino Ventura, Sylva Koscina, Leo Gordon, Alberto de Mendoza. In French; English subtitles. DCP. 103 min.
Five years after his debut film, Classe tous risques, director Claude Sautet reteamed with Ventura for this little-seen follow-up, based on the novel Aground by hardboiled maestro Charles Williams. Set in the Caribbean but filmed on the Mediterranean coast, the film seems less an homage to American B thrillers than a meticulous recreation of one, down to the casting of the Hollywood veteran Leo Gordon as the heavy. Ventura seems to be channeling John Garfield as the protagonist, a freelance ship’s captain duped into providing cover for a gun-running plot.