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Film / Any Number Can Win

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In a casino, you can't always win.

Any Number Can Win (French: Mélodie en sous-sol, meaning "underground melody") is a 1963 French heist film directed by Henri Verneuil, starring Jean Gabin and Alain Delon. Michel Audiard wrote the dialogues. It is adapted from a 1960 novel by John Trinian, The Big Grab.

Mister Charles (Gabin) Just Got Out of Jail. He wants to take One Last Job before retirement in Australia. He hires Francis (Delon) and his brother-in-law Louis to help him. He plans to rob a casino in Cannes. According to Mister Charles's plan, Francis will go to Cannes and pretend to be a rich high-roller to get access to the backstage of the casino.

Any Number Can Win provides examples of:

  • Air-Vent Passageway: Francis uses an air duct to get access to the lift which goes to the strongroom of the casino.
  • All for Nothing: Mister Charles and Francis manage to rob the casino and to hide the booty in a changing room. They lose the booty when they try to retrieve it as the police is in the casino and Francis drop it in the swimming pool.
  • Bad Guys Play Pool: Mister Charles plays pool with Francis, and he tells him that he thinks he is the right guy for the heist.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: The booty is made of two bags full of money. The casino manager says that he could recognize them.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: Mister Charles indulges in this when he pretends to be a police officer to test the loyalty of Louis: he says that Mister Charles is an important criminal and that Francis is insignificant in comparison.
  • The Caper: The film is about the elaborate plan of criminals to rob a casino.
  • Caper Crew: Mister Charles is the Mastermind (he designed the whole plan). Francis is the Conman (he seduces a dancer to get access to the backstage of the casino) and the Burglar (he infiltrates the strongroom through an Air-Vent Passageway). Louis is The Driver.
  • The Casino: Mister Charles plans to rob a casino in Cannes.
  • Cat Scare: Francis is scared by the cry of a cat when he is climbing from the backstage to the roof of the casino.
  • Cool Car: Francis drives an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider to impersonate a high-roller. Mister Charles uses a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I to pretend to be a rich man.
  • Exposition Diagram: Somehow Mr. Charles got an architectural diagram of the casino, which he uses to explain to his partners where the vault is and how they will break in and steal the money.
  • Fauxreigner: In the casino, Francis meets a woman who pretends to be a Polish countess. She is actually a French High-Class Call Girl. She drops the accent when Francis let her know that he is aware of her real identity.
  • The Film of the Book: It is adapted from a 1960 novel by John Trinian, The Big Grab.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Mister Charles pretends to be a police officer to test the loyalty of Louis.
  • Inner Monologue: In the opening scene, we can hear Mister Charles's thoughts about the conversation of the other passengers of the train.
  • Irony: Situational irony. In the end, Mister Charles and Francis lose the booty because they try to move it to a safer place. In all likelihood, the police would not have found it if they had left it where it was.
  • Just Got Out of Jail: Mister Charles just got out of jail in the beginning. He immediately starts preparing another job.
  • Meal Ticket: Brigitte breaks up with Francis and makes up with a rich man. She admits that she chooses him because he can offer her a better standard of living.
  • Mock Millionaire: Francis pretends to be a rich high-roller to get access to the backstage of the casino. He spends a lot of money in tips, so that the staff of the casino is not wary about him.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Exploited by Francis, who always gives big tips to the casino's staff, so that he can easily infiltrate the backstage.
  • No Name Given: The surname of Mister Charles is never revealed (Charles is his given name). At some point, he tells Francis that Louis should not know his last name, but only Charles, his first name.
  • One Last Job: The casino heist is supposed to be Mister Charles's last job before retirement in Australia.
  • Pool Scene: There is one in which Francis spots the group of dancers. He tries to charm two of them to get access to the backstage of the casino. Everybody is wearing a swimsuit so there is a lot of Fanservice involved. The last scene of the movie happens at the pool too, but there is no Fanservice, because the pool is deserted.
  • Picture-Perfect Presentation:
    • There is a transition between a drawing of the coastline made by Mister Charles and the real coastline.
    • Later there's a transition between the photo Mister Charles is showing Francis, of the casino roof with the trapdoor, to a live-action shot of the same roof and trap door. Then the scene ends by doing this backwards, transitioning from a shot of the roof to another photograph of the roof in Francis's hands.
  • Retired Outlaw: Mario is a retired outlaw. His friend, Mister Charles, wants to involve him in the heist, but he rejects the proposal. His health is too bad.
  • Secret Test: Mister Charles tells Louis that he is a police officer, then he asks him information about himself. Louis refuses to give information. Then Mister Charles reveals who he is and he tells Louis that he wanted to know what kind of guy Louis was.
  • Student–Master Team: Mister Charles is an experienced criminal. Because of his age, he cannot perform the heist alone, so he needs the help of a newbie, Francis.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Subverted. The plan is told in detail to the audience. Francis takes quite a long time to get out of the backstage (because the troupe is having a party), so we might think that the plan will not go as planned, but finally Francis and Mister Charles manage to pull it off. Things go bad after the heist.
  • Wet Blanket Wife: Mister Charles is planning a heist, and his wife pleads with him not to go through with it.

Alternative Title(s): Melodie En Sous Sol