Intelligent "Mr. Klein" showing at Regent Square Theater

Dark forces shaped the life and brilliant career of director Joseph Losey. Even darker forces shape the life of Mr. Klein, the title character of his last great film.

By proverbial popular demand, Pittsburgh Filmmakers has extended its run of the rarely seen “Mr. Klein” (1976) at the Regent Square, with three additional screenings this weekend.

In Nazi-occupied Paris of 1942, Robert Klein (Alain Delon) is a high-living art dealer with a terrific apartment, an over-sexed mistress (Juliet Berto), and a booming business — thanks to Jewish citizens’ desperate need to raise money by selling their valuable artworks at bargain prices.




  • Starring: Alain Delon, Juliet Berto, Jeanne Moreau, Michel Aumont.
  • Rating: PG

He’s neither a bad nor dishonest guy, just an opportunistic one. But his cozy life is suddenly disturbed when he is mistaken for another Robert Klein — a mysterious Jewish one — who is sought by the police. The apparent existence of his Jewish double is a life-threatening thing, forcing him to prove his French gentile origins to the authorities.

Delon as suave Robert in his silk smoking jackets has never been better in a role. Brooding Jeanne Moreau as “the other” Mr. Klein’s aristocratic lover fascinates. Michel Aumont as the ice-cold chief of prefecture police is — well, chilling.

Like Losey’s three great Harold Pinter collaborations —“The Servant” (1963), “Accident” (1967) and “The Go-Between” (1971)  — “Mr. Klein” is distinguished by the intelligence of its screenplay, by his skill in eliciting powerful performances, and by his meticulous camera movements, utilizing the shapes and spaces of indoor sets as extensions of his characters’ mental states.

Losey uses the thriller genre for deeper purposes, focused as much on decadent French society as on the lurking Gestapo: The upper class happily participates in posh auctions of the robbed art works. There are telltale holes on some of their walls, where paintings used to hang. Good Frenchmen walk past “No Jews” signs to enjoy anti-Semitic cabaret shows.

Left-leaning Losey (1909-1984) predictably ran afoul of the House Un-American Activities Committee, was blacklisted and relocated in England during the McCarthy era. His worldview — and this downbeat film — are deeply misanthropic.

“Where are they taking us?” someone asks toward the end.

Nobody knows---but never mind. It could never happen here.

(In French with English subtitles. Added screenings at the Regent Square Theater are 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.)

Post-Gazette film critic emeritus Barry Paris can be reached at

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