Veteran French director Georges Lautner has died. He was 87. Best known as the helmer of the classic 1963 film Les Tontons Flingueurs (Monsieur Gangster), Lautner passed away today in Paris after a long illness. Lautner was also a screenwriter and co-authored many of his films with Michel Audiard. Among them was black-and-white gangster comedy Les Tontons Flingueurs, an adaptation of the Albert Simonin book Grisbi Or Not Grisbi that includes one of the best kitchen table scenes ever committed to celluloid. That movie, which celebrates its 50th anniversary on November 27th — and which continues to draw big audiences in annual French television airings — starred Lino Ventura and Bernard Blier, among others. Lautner was more recently thanked in the credits to Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 2 and last directed 1992’s Stranger In The House which starred Jean-Paul Belmondo with whom he worked often, including in 1981’s The Professional and 1979’s Flic Ou Voyou (Cop Or Hood). Lautner also directed Robert Mitchum in 1990’s Presumed Dangerous. The son of actress Renée Saint-Cyr, he was born in Nice, France in 1926 and after moving to Paris made The Black Monocle which got him noticed by legendary Gaumont producer Alain Poiré who backed him to direct Les Tontons Flingueurs. French daily Le Figaro wrote this evening, “A symbol of the renewal of French post-war cinema, Georges Lautner knew, with Michel Audiard, how to impose a style of popular comedies that today remains inimitable.”
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