Sunday, January 10, 2010

2010 Begins with a New Jean Gabin DVD Release: It's 1966's Gabin/Robert Stack Team-Up, Action Man (AKA, Le Soleil des voyous)

Jean Gabin and Robert Stack in the fun 1966 heist thriller Action Man (Le Soleil des voyous). It will be available on DVD, in North America, on January 26, 2010.

Happy New Year from Thank you to everybody who gave (and received) my book, WORLD'S COOLEST MOVIE STAR: THE COMPLETE 95 FILMS (AND LEGEND) OF JEAN GABIN, VOLUMES ONE AND TWO, for the holidays.

2010 starts out with a brand new Jean Gabin DVD release, available in an English languge version for the first time on home video:

It's director Jean Delannoy's Le Soleil des voyous (Action Man), a fun, engaging "one-last-heist picture" from 1966 which co-starred Gabin with Elliott Ness himself -- t.v.'s Robert Stack!

I'm pleased to announce that this fun Technicolor thriller is pure fun for fans of Jean Gabin, Robert Stack, as well as for anybody who enjoys great heist movies. In Action Man, Gabin and Stack heist a military payroll with tragic results for one of the two stars, but I won't reveal which one until you catch the movie.

Le Soleil des voyous
(Action Man) is one of the six films which Delannoy, a distant French cousin of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, directed with his friend Jean Gabin in the lead. A literal English translation of the title Le Soleil des voyous is something like, "Sun Over the No-Goods." You can see why the American distributors re-titled it, Action Man!

Action Man, at this point, will only be available on DVD as part of a two-DVD/four movie set issued by VCI Entertainment, which VCI has entitled, "The Action Man Collection." The other three features in the set, none of which I have yet seen, do NOT have Gabin in them. The other three titles in the package are:

Peking Blonde (1967) -- An international intrigue thriller with Edward G. Robinson and Mireille Darc;
The Big Game (1967) -- soldier-of-fortune picture with Stephen Boyd, Cameron Mitchell, and Ray Milland; and
The Day of the Wolves (1972) -- bank-robbery western, starring Richard Egan, Martha Hyer, and the American comedian Jan Murray.

As far as I can tell, the print of Action Man which will be available in this package will be dubbed into English; normally, like any serious cineaste, I prefer subtitles over dubbing, but I actually saw this English-dubbed version in 2004when I began researching my Jean Gabin book (UCLA had/has a 16-millimeter print in its Film Archives), and I remember the dubbing as being quite acceptable, bordering on very, very good. Jean Gabin is one of those actors for whom the voice is a big part of the persona, but, from what I remember, whoever dubbed his voice into English did a serviceable job.

Even though Jean Gabin is the first-billed star of Action Man, VCI Entertainment, distributors of the U.S. DVD, neglected to put his picture on the box; this is understandable, however, in view of the fact that Gabin is less known in America than Robert Stack.

I have never seen the French-language print of Action Man, but I would love to, because, famously, Stack did all of his dialogue in French; Robert Stack, as I have mentioned in my Jean Gabin book, grew up on military bases throughout France, so he spoke the language fluently. Here is a five minute clip from the French print of Le Soleil des voyous/Action Man. About four-and-a-half minutes in, you will hear Stack speaking fluent French:

The mob sends thug Robert Stack to bust up Jean Gabin's bar/restaurant in Action Man (1966). When Stack arrives, he is surprised to find that the bar is owned by his good friend and war-buddy Gabin -- the American and the Frenchman fought together in Indochina, in the '50s! It won't be long before Gabin and Stack are teaming up, to get the goods on the mob.

In fact, here is a six minute interview Stack gave to French television in 1966, in which he expresses his great admiration for Jean Gabin. More of Stack speaking French:

I am looking forward to reporting on more Jean Gabin news and events in 2010, as well as telling you about my new projects.


Charles Zigman,

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