Some information on Mise à Sac (”Pillaged”)

French Poster

Since beginning this site over a decade (!) ago, one Parker-related item has eluded me. That item is Mise à Sac (“Pillaged”), a French film based on The Score. So far as I’ve been able to tell, the movie has not been released on video in any format.

Not only that, but information on the film is mighty hard to come by for a monolingual person such as myself. Both star Michel Constantin and director Alain Cavalier are known to English-speaking film buffs, and one would think that that alone would mean that someone, somewhere, would at least write about the film. But, alas, if there is any information out there, I haven’t been able to find it.

Reader Miroslav steps up to the plate with his comments on the film, sent to me via e-mail:

About the Parker movies, I happen to have seen several times Mise à Sac, THE french Stark adaptation (the other one – the Godard – being something else). Mise à Sac was a regular on french television when I was a kid/teenager (I am French) and at some time I recognised it was a Parker adaptation (Parker books were then edited by the “série noir” collection, the most famous crime books line in France then).

It is a very good movie and rather faithful to the book, considering it is a foreign adaptation.

The Parker character was a close mouthed pro played by Michel Constantin, a regular fixture in French crime movies and I remember that the Grofield character is as well correctly rendered and as in the book is courting the telephone girl (and taking her with him at it the end). The city was also a mining town as in the book.

The former chief of police in the book became in the movie a former employee of the town’s leading businessman and was motivated by revenge after being cuckholded by that man. In the end, he intrudes on the house (castle I think) of the guy and set it in fire (maybe killing some), triggering the fall of the gang while the score was initially a success.

Here is the main deviation, Parker is caught in the end.

All this is subject to my memory, I haven’t seen the film for awhile. It is not available on DVD.

The director Alain Cavalier is a very respected figure in French cinema who after a string of very good noir films with political subtext turned to avant garde. He did a series of elitist films who have a great reputation (Thérèse, Libera Me).

I have seen on the “Cinematheque Française” website a small piece saying that Mise à Sac was restored. Unfortunately no date is provided. Is this restoration a prelude to DVD edition?

I think the film should be added to the list of Parker-DVD-in-waiting /wanting (I would rank it below The Outfit but above The Split).

The Split and The Outfit are both crying out for DVD release as well, but at least people can see them, as they both occasionally run on cable television and bootlegs are available. Mise à Sac is a lost film at this point. Why this is the case is a mystery.

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