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Film / Le Trou

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"Hello. My friend Jacques Becker recreated a true story in all its detail. My story. It took place in 1947 at the Santé prison..."
Introduction by one of the real prisoners, Jean Keraudy, who's also part of the main cast

Also called The Night Watch, Le Trou is a film by Jacques Beckernote  about a Real Life escape attempt by five inmates at La Santé prison in 1947. It is adapted from José Giovanni's book of the same name.

The film is notable for its use of mostly non-actors, its sparse editing and its tense atmosphere. A few of the first-time actors would go on to have fruitful film careers and the film is now regarded as one of Keraudy's best.


This film includes examples of:

  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Geo
  • Great Escape: Perhaps a trope codifier in a few respects
  • Headbutting Heroes: Gaspard and Geo and Gaspard and Manu
  • The Informant: Gaspard
  • Jail Bake: Subverted as all the food delivered is cut apart, poked and prodded.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Manu is agressive and confrontational, to the point of endangering the escape attempt. He also distrusts Gaspard from the start and longer than the others do. He wasn't wrong…
  • MacGyvering: By Roland
    • A periscope made out of a mirror shard, thread and a brush.
    • A sledgehammer improvised from a steel bed leg.
    • Puppets made out of cardboard boxes, rope and bags.
    • A silent alert system improvised out of a rope attached to a cell mate's toe.
    • A master key crafted from a steel strip.
    • A torch made from a rag and a shoe polish bottle.
    • An hourglass (or 30-minute glass) made from two medicine bottles and sand.
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  • Meaningful Name: "Le trou" is slang for the jail, and most of the time is spent digging holes (trou also means hole).
  • Prison: Go figure
  • Prison Escape Artist: Roland Darbant, played by Jean Keraudy who was one of the real-life escapees.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Warden and guards in general are fair in their dealings with prisoners, in contrast to the film norm.
  • Sleeping Dummy: Actually more like puppets, which can be controlled by cell mates in adjacent beds.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: In subdued terms for the duration of the movie, as The Team has had to include Gaspard in their plans.
  • What Are You in For?
  • You All Meet in a Cell