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A gathering for fans of the experimental folk-rock group Wovenhand and its leader David Eugene Edwards to discuss, praise, and analyze the band's/man's music. Tour dates and news will also be posted here.
Kevina is my good friend’s loopy ex-wife. However, when they were together, we would all take trips to Las Vegas on a regular basis. We would usually stay near the center of the Las Vegas strip, near the Paris hotel and casino, which prominently features a half-size replica of the Eiffel Tower that you can go up in. We never stayed there, but it we always stopped into that particular casino and even ate dinner at a sidewalk cafe just at the base of the Tower. So after maybe 6 trips to Vegas, we are hanging out at home and happened to be watching a television show that featured Vegas. The show opened with a sweeping shot of the Vegas strip at night, capturing the tower and ballon of Paris. Kevina comments, “They don’t have an Eiffel Tower in Vegas!”. Her husband and I are both flabbergasted, and begin explaining to her that there is and we had all been there in person. Kevina, who for some reason was always skeptical of the weirdest of things, begins asking us if we are sure and how she doesn’t believe it’s true, DESPITE HAVING JUST WITNESSED IT ON TV. After 10 minutes, he and I give up trying to explain and Kevina is 100% geniunely convinced it was a special effect or something. She cannot believe there is an Eiffel Tower at the casino named Paris. A couple of weeks later, my friend was looking at Kevina’s cellphone photo gallery, trying to find a family photo. In his search, he found a handful of photos and selfies she had taken of herself FROM MULTIPLE TRIPS in front of the Paris Las Vegas Eiffel Tower.
A Cinematic Guide to The Weeknd: Pt 3. My Dear Melancholy and After Hours
My Dear Melancholy
Gaspar Noe/Cannes Film Festival The My Dear Melancholy era notable for being a time when The Weeknd was in proximity to a lot of serious directors. While he’s had a foot in Hollywood for awhile, 2017 through 2019 he was actively engaging with filmmakers like the Safdies Brothers, Gaspar Noe, and Claire Denis, amongst others. While he had been actively courting the Safdies since Good Time was released, he attended the 2018 Cannes Film Festival where he crossed paths Noe, whose film Climax took home a number awards at Cannes. Noe’s Enter the Void had previously served as an inspiration for Kiss Land, and for MDM (and later After Hours) seem to call back to Noe’s other films, like Irreversible and Love, which are both twisted depictions of heartbreak. On the other hand, Climax is about a French dance troupe who accidentally take LSD, and according to Noe is not a “message” movie. It is an audacious psychedelic technical exercise, with numerous long takes and highly choreographed set pieces. The idea for Noe, who had previously captured the feeling of drugs in previous films, was to do the opposite, and present the objectively reality of drugs, watching people high from a sober perspective. Noe is a rather strong advocate of film, and the opening scene of Climax features VHS boxes of a number of films that have influenced his filmmaking. Two of note are Schizophrenia, otherwise known as Angst, one of Noe’s favorite films which The Weeknd name checked to the Safdies, and Possession, which would go on to be an influence on After Hours (more on this later). He is also said to have sat next to Benicio Del Toro at Cannes, which means he likely caught some of the Un Certain Regard section, where Del Toro served as a jury member. Outside of that section, there were a few other films of interest such as The House That Jack Built from Lars Von Trier (The Weeknd has previously expressed affection for Von Trier’s Antichrist), Mandy from Pastos Costamos, and music video director Romain Gavras’s The World Is Yours, as well as a restoration of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which Noe has referred to as the film that got him into filmmaking. https://preview.redd.it/qga7a3l8ct261.png?width=910&format=png&auto=webp&s=371cf20d42ee8783cc23bfe7f2cfa16a0a927a0e Asian Cinema Later in 2018, The Weeknd continued his globetrotting with a tour of Asia. He once claimed in an interview that whenever visiting a foreign country he only watches films from there. I’ve previously written about the influence of Asian cinema on Kiss Land, and there’s not enough work from the MDM era to glean anything cinematically adjacent to this, but now would be a good time to mention that the "Call Out My Name" video was heavily inspired by the work of famed Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. The Asian tour poster seems to be a reference to Ichi the Killer, which leads us to Takashi Miike. Though he is notoriously prolific across a number of genres, his most popular works internationally are genre melding blends of horror, comedy and crime, most notably Audition, Ichi the Killer and Gozu. Another film worth mentioning is Perfect Blue, Satoshi Kon’s masterwork about a pop star’s mysterious stalker that The Weeknd posted about on Instagram before. Bloody and haunting, the film was a major influence on Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. In Interviews he has also mentioned a number of Korean films, such as The Wailing, I Saw the Devil and Oldboy. While Wong Kar Wai was previously mentioned as an influence on Beauty Behind the Madness, also worth mentioning is the work of John Woo, specifically A Better Tomorrow, well known for the shot of smoking a cigar off money, and Infernal Affairs, Andrew Lau’s crime classic which served has the basis for Scorsese’s The Departed. https://preview.redd.it/fx7o9s2bct261.png?width=642&format=png&auto=webp&s=0fec2f841e9d3b09104238d0f89595daa6140faa https://preview.redd.it/n4x7fiy9ct261.png?width=1316&format=png&auto=webp&s=8a9650263272518216fc5f36913e80a10d2b0a8e
Martin Scorsese While After Hours more so than any other Weeknd album is bursting at the seams with cinematic references, the influence of Martin Scorsese stands above all. Similar to The Weeknd’s body of work, many Scorsese’s are explorations of violence and masculinity, investigating them from a perspective that depending on who you ask (and how they’re feeling) glamorizes, condemns or just simply presents the reality of characters on the fringes of society. While there are direct references to a number of prominent Scorsese films, what’s interesting is that his influence also reverberates in other films/filmmakers that influence After Hours. Todd Phillips’s Joker is in effect an homage to Scorsese’s loner-centric New York films, and the Safdie Brothers have been putting their own millennial spin on the type of 70s gritty thriller that Scorsese trafficked in (Scorsese was also a producer on Uncut Gems). Specific Scorsese works will be discussed more in depth in the requisite sections, but it is worth mentioning upfront what a prominent role that Scorsese plays in the nucleus of After Hours. https://preview.redd.it/wcds9qpdct261.png?width=1196&format=png&auto=webp&s=246c560c72340782e26ad03b8ff63367999eaadd Urban HorroIsolation With After Hours, The Weeknd departs from the slicker sounds and influences that permeated Starboy and returns to the cinematic grittiness of Beauty Behind the Madness. While urban horror is a theme that permeates throughout The Weeknd as a project overall, there is a thorough line to be drawn here that follows a number of 70s and 80s cinematic and aesthetic references. For one thing, while the initial bandaged nose was a reference to Chinatown (previously, The Weeknd has a Kiss Land demo titled "Roman Polanski"), the full bandaged face that is so prominently featured throughout the After Hours era is a classic cinematic visual trope that was especially prominent throughout 60s and 80s, though it saw a slight re-emergence in the 2010s. The fully bandaged face is often used to remake someone in the image of another, usually against their will (The Skin I Live In, Eyes Without Face), or as a case of mistaken identity and doppelgängers (Good Night Mommy, Scalpel), themes present throughout much of After Hours. The "Too Late" video acknowledges these references, but instead presents the bandages on two Los Angeles models recovering from plastic surgery, in a nod to a famous Steven Meisel’s photoshoot for Vogue Italia. https://preview.redd.it/dtbxjc3ict261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=66a98cc3cba73d502f8586a215a65cc41c5408a1 The “masks” people wear is another horror trope that is featured prominently on After Hours, and this is best seen in the red suit character. One important reference in the film is to Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill, where a serial killer is targeting the patients of a psychiatrist (any more on this film will veer towards spoiler territory). The Weeknd is on the record as saying Jim Carrey’s The Mask as being a large influence on the Red Suit character, it being one of the first film’s he watched in theaters. One of the more complex references would be to Joker. While it sort of an in-joke that the character of the Joker is commonly overanalyzed and misinterpreted, referencing Todd Phillips’s Joker is more nuanced because it is in essence a full on homage to Martin Scorsese’s New York films, most notably Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, which focus on eccentric loners, and can both be seen as cautionary tale of urban isolation, a theme explored perhaps in songs like "Faith." The King of Comedy revolves around a would be obsessive stand up Rupert Pupkin haggling his way to perform on late night TV, with The Weeknd’s talk show appearances being a prominent part of the early After Hours marketing, most notably in the “short film”. This idea of isolated and compressed urbanites recurs throughout After Hours and it’s films. https://preview.redd.it/egap17ttdt261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=1aab204ac0845a7df74ceeff6d1f714274f9ace0 The idea of urban repression is in the subway scene of the After Hours short film. The entire film itself is something of a reference to the subway scene to Possession (another Gaspar Noe favorite), mimicking the (also subway set) scene in which Isabelle Adjani’s Anna convulses on the subway due to a miscarriage, as well as Jacob’s Ladder, a 90s cult classic horror film starring Tim Robbins as a Vietnam vet (like Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle) who is experiencing demonic hallucinations, encountering them in the subway and later at a party he attends, splitting the scene into two. https://preview.redd.it/g53copgmct261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=9d29e368ae695d295b36039e86125ccfd7b4eb88 Las Vegas As always, The Weeknd once again grounds After Hours with a strong sense of place, this time setting the album against a nocturnal odyssey through Las Vegas. One of the most prominent films is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s book. This is directly referenced in the "Heartless" video, which sees The Weeknd and Metro Boomin in the Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro roles as they tumble through a Las Vegas casino. The Weeknd has gone on the record to state that the famous red suit character was influenced by Sammy Davis Jr.’s character in the film Poor Devil. However, similar red suit has also been sported by a number of Vegas characters, most notably Richard Pryor and Robert De Niro’s Sam Rothstein in Martin Scorsese’s Casino. With the red suit, The Weeknd seems to be playing with the idea of a devil-ish other, another side of his personality that emerges in Las Vegas. https://preview.redd.it/gjow6hq2dt261.png?width=1992&format=png&auto=webp&s=10a379bc26df54af88064bf64813d5cdd29775d9 While the city lights are the oft discussed part of part of Las Vegas, it should be noted that similar to Beauty Behind the Madness, the desert that surrounds Las Vegas is just as important to the juxtaposition of its beauty. The "Until I Bleed Out" video ends/"Snowchild" video in the desert, similar to the confrontation between Robert De Niro’s and Joe Pesci’s showdown in the desert in Casino, as well as Joe Pesci's death in Goodfellas. The idea of a hedonistic desert playground also bears semblance to Westworld, both the film and the TV show. The desert seems to represent some sort of freedom to The Weeknd, as the "Snowchild" video portrays the desert as a pensive location for reflection, as well as the "In Your Eyes" video showing the girl prominently dancing with the dismembered head out in the open, in reference to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another prominent desert film. https://preview.redd.it/98ec10wxct261.png?width=1168&format=png&auto=webp&s=45e29aa361fa41ff74e2a6017e203015bdcbc6c3 New York/The Safdies Despite it’s Las Vegas setting, After Hours also takes a good amount from films set in New York, most notably Martin Scorsese’s 1983 film After Hours. Besides the title, After Hours is similarly about a twisting and turning nighttime odyssey. The film stars Griffin Dunne as Paul, a working class stiff who heads downtown to rendezvous with a woman he met at a diner earlier that night. Of course, things don’t turn out the way they should, chaos ensues, and Paul is set on a dangerous trek back uptown. Like the film, the album After Hours is set off by a woman (though the album takes more stock in romantic endeavors), seems to be set over a single night (or at least a condensed period of time), and involves similar chaos and misadventures (sirens at night at the end of Faith). Tonally, After Hours the film is more comedic perhaps than After Hours the album, however The Weeknd is on the record as having said that "Heartless" and "Blinding Lights" placement on the album is intended to be somewhat comedic, reflecting exaggerated machismo and ecstasy, respectively (to comedic effect). https://preview.redd.it/f3w7yz4pdt261.png?width=1346&format=png&auto=webp&s=fe7e4f003987fd843020a42a5b53f94092984267 Another of the most prominent filmmakers of After Hours are the Safdies, who featured The Weeknd in Uncut Gems. They also served as a link to Oneohtrix Point Never, who scored their last two films and later worked After Hours. I believe there are three major film tropes (not genres) that inspired After Hours, all of which the Safdies’s have engaged with. There is the one-long-night films, in which a character spends one-long-night on the run from whatever chaos and forces may be that they left in their path. This can be seen in the Good Time, as well as After Hours (the movie). Then, there is the descent-into-madness type, where a character slowly loses grip with reality and ends up in over their head (something like Scarface or Breaking Bad, but for our purposes Jacob’s Ladder can be categorized here as well), which the Safdies did with Uncut Gems. Lastly, but maybe most importantly, the Safdies also explored toxic romance (more on this later) in their less seen film Heaven Knows What, about two heroin addicts and the destructiveness their love brings out in each other, an idea that recurs throughout After Hours on songs like "Until I Bleed Out" and "Nothing Compares." A recurring song throughout Heaven Knows What is Isao Tomita’s synth version of Debussy’s "Claire De Lune", which is featured in some episodes of Memento Mori and bears some resemblance to the start of "Alone Again". https://preview.redd.it/em255b5qdt261.png?width=1344&format=png&auto=webp&s=a5226c9496d0ae5c14b6d6c05e16f5ea18678a9a Obsession/Toxic Romance While love and lust and the ups and downs with it have been a formative part of The Weeknd’s ideology and themes, I don’t think it would be remiss to say that After Hours is perhaps his most outwardly romantic album. Despite this, one of the major arcs of the album is toxicity that comes with it, which a number of already mentioned films deal with. While "In Your Eyes" is one of the more romantic and accessible songs on the album, a re-assessment of it Ala Sting’s “Every Breathe You Take” could frame it as lonely obsessing, such as Travis Bickle’s infatuation with Jodie Foster’s teenage prostitute Iris, Joker's fixation on Murray Franklin, Rupert Pupkin’s obsession with Jerry Langford. Casino also deals with toxic romance, another prominent theme in After Hours, best seen in the love triangle that forms between Sam, his partner Nicky and his wife Ginger, played by Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone respectively. https://preview.redd.it/eq1ioijvdt261.png?width=898&format=png&auto=webp&s=f9e4b781ee60762ae767c4dbd92066357ebc24b0 In almost all of the After Hours’s video content, The Weeknd seems to constantly meet his demise at the hands of women. Another interesting reference that may be something of a reach is to Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film about Reynolds Woodcock, a couture dressmaker loosely based on Cristobal Balenciaga and his muse Alma, played by Daniel Day Lewis and Vicky Krieps, respectively. The film delves into their dysfunctional relationship, with Woodcock berating her and Alma poisoning his tea to keep him dependent on her. One of the highpoint of the film is a New Years Eve Party that bears strong resemblance to the "Until I Bleed Out" video. While the balloons may just be a callback to his earlier work, there is something about the color grading/temperature and the production design of the "Until I Bleed Out" video (as well as parts of the "Blinding Lights" video) that made me immediately think of Phantom Thread. A similar relationship is seen in the German horror film Der Fan, which The Weeknd has mentioned in a recent interview. In Der Fan, a young girl Simone spends her days obsessing over popstar R, until she finally encounters him outside his studio. The film is similar to the aforementioned Takashi Miike’s Audition in its exploration of obsession and idealization. In the film, an older man puts up a fake casting call to search for the perfect girlfriend. While Audition explores these themes from an Eastern perspective of societal pressure, Der Fan explores it through a Western lens of pop idolization and idealization. Both films deal with the idea that despite outward appearances, the perfect partner does not exist, and anyone that claims to be (or has the expectations put on them) is not who they seem. https://preview.redd.it/3m661q62et261.png?width=1342&format=png&auto=webp&s=c9377018cb53f67cf7ce95b24392afb471e4aec1 One film he has spoken at length about is Trouble Everyday, Claire Denis’s arthouse vampire movie. The film stars Vincent Gallo as Shane, a scientist who travels to Paris under the guise of his honeymoon to track down core, a woman who he was once obsessed with who has now become a vampire. Core is locked up in a basement but sometimes sneaks out to seduce and consume unwilling victims. This seems to be where some of the bloody face stuff comes from, but I believe it’s influence is a little more conceptual. To me, a good companion film to Trouble Everyday is American Psycho, which seems to also have been a thematic influence on After Hours. Both films concern idealized version of masculinity and femininity, both very sexual and physical, but hostile as well. American Psycho ends with Patrick Bateman confessing to the killing of a prostitute, but no one believe him. Trouble Everyday ends with Shane killing Core, but Shane is unable to arouse himself after that except through violence. Koji Wakamatsu, a former Yakuza turned prominent extreme Japanese filmmaker (and a major influence on Gaspar Noe) is quoted as saying “For me, violence, the body and sex are an integral part of life.” Despite being hollow, idealized impressions of the self, a vampire and as a banker (cold, seductive bloodsuckers = monsters), Patrick Bateman and Core represent the Frankenstein-ian relationship between sexuality and violence, which I believe is the main theme of After Hours. Truly, we hurt the ones we love. https://preview.redd.it/zfllbd83et261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=9c048ee98d86d7bbb9db67fa8302d34c36214c4f
To cap things off, I would just like to illuminate some key takeaways. As a filmmaker myself, this has been an extremely helpful exercise in understanding other artists process and ideas. Steeped in the history of the medium… It’s clear that The Weeknd is not your typical “I’m influenced by cinema” artist but an extremely legit film buff with serious credentials. The Weeknd’s film taste leans towards 70s-00s genre works, mostly horror, drama and thriller, and is well versed in the classics but also has the nose to sniff out deeper cuts and obscurities. The mantra of “good artists borrow, great artists steal” works even better if not many people know where you’re stealing from! What is impressive to me is that he is not just versed in “mainstream” obscurities, but also serious deep cuts. Films like Possession and Phantom of the Paradise may not stick out to the average person on the street but are well known in most film circles. Films like Inland Empire and New Rose Hotel (Der Fan was especially impressive to me, it is one of my favorite films) however are not as well known and it is very impressive to me that he can come across films like that, and really get enough out of it to bring into his own work. …is able to interpolate contemporary/mainstream films… This perhaps is one of the most impressive aspects of his integration of film into The Weeknd’s work. It is very easy for film buffs to get lost within their own obscure taste, living in a world where everyone is an idiot for not knowing who Shinya Tsukamoto. Trilogy and Kiss Land had a lot of contemporary obscurities, like Stalker, David Lynch etc., well known but they still existed as artifacts, not of the time we live in. However, perhaps picking something from his work on Fifty Shades of Grey, of late he has kept his finger on the zeitgeist and anticipated/integrated what the filmmakers of today are doing, such as his work on Black Panther and Game of Thrones, general appreciation of Tarantino, the works of Nicolas Winding Refn in Starboy, and his use of the Joker and Uncut Gems on After Hours, both of which came out just a few months before the album. It feels Jackson-esque, and I believe this is one thing that will help him further in his quest for pop stardom. …while also being fully in tune to the works of modern transgressive auteurs… In addition to keeping up with the mainstream is in touch with, The Weeknd also makes it a point to seek out and learn from the cutting edge filmmakers of today. While the Safdies were always going to blow up, I don’t doubt that a Weeknd co-sign accelerated their rise. Gaspar Noe is one thing, Enter the Void and Irreversible exist as masterpieces of the mainstream obscurities I’ve been mentioning, but he really truly tries to understand the heart of Noe’s work, even going so far back as to understand Noe’s influences (I sincerely hope he is tuned in to the work of Koji Wakamatsu). But most of all, to be a fan of Claire Denis is one thing, but to seek her out and make her an offer that she ACCEPTED is absolutely astounding to me. Just spitballing but it would be like if Michael Jackson shot a music video with Rainer Werner Fassbinder (who I’d bet good money that The Weeknd was put on to by Noe). We can only PRAY that one day we will be blessed with a David Lynch Weeknd video. --------------------------- …and that just about does it. Hope you enjoyed this and thanks for being patient with me. I got quite busy after the first two and had my own projects/work going that kept me occupied. As we’re still technically in the After Hours era, I also wanted to wait until a few more videos and interviews came out to aid me in my research. I also wanted to find enough time to make the Letterboxd for this. I personally don’t love Letterboxd culture, I find the popular culture surrounding the site a bit snobbish and exclusive, but I’ve gotten a number of requests for one and you gotta give the people what they want. Throughout the list are a few films that he hasn’t mentioned but are some of my personal favorites and I believe Weeknd fans will like, I encourage you to accidentally stumble upon things on it. Don't overthink, just pick something and watch! If you’d like to follow me further, you can find me on Instagram here, where I post about film reviews Letterboxd style. I prefer Instagram so that more average people see it instead of an echo chamber of film snobs. I am also a filmmaker myself, I just recently wrapped this short film and am currently in the process of putting together my next project. The main reason I did this however, besides a general appreciation of The Weeknd’s work, was to put more people on to the beautiful art form that is cinema. One thing I learned from Scorsese is that one must be an advocate and truly champion your medium. I hope that this encourages to check out more interesting movies than they wouldn’t normally come across, and I hope this will inspire more people to create more as well, whether it be to write, make films, music, anything. If even one person picks up a pencil, a camera or a keyboard because of these posts, I will be satisfied. Thanks all!
I'm currently staying @ Paris hotel on Las Vegas Strip and things are starting to pick back up. I could feel the sexual energy around the perimeter of the casino downstairs tonight (Friday night). I think young people have kicked the pandemic mentality to the curb. What are some other cities around the world with a good sexual energy? Could be cities or specific neighborhoods or hotels, etc. I'm sure that this may be seasonal as well. Seems like Prague may have pretty good sexual energy in the summer based on the vids I've seen but I've never been there. I'm guessing Ibiza during the summer? I was in Ibiza during the second half of January and I heard 2 different ladies getting it on from my hotel room so I'm guessing that summers in Ibiza are even better.
Congratulations to u/No-Diver-2452 who won round 3 of Make a Race Route, 2nd place was u/Vinnymartin_09 and 3rd place was a tie between u/pandie12345 & u/Pgandhguyxc. The winning route is: Leg 1: Atlanta, USA -> Cancun, Mexico Leg 2: Cancun, Mexico -> Lima, Peru Leg 3: Lima -> Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (self-drive) (NEL) Leg 4: Rio de Janeiro -> Praia, Cape Verde Leg 5: Praia -> Barcelona, Spain Leg 6: Barcelona -> Nice, France -> Monaco -> Genoa, Italy (travel from Spain to France via train) (super leg) (self drive) (halfway point in Monaco) Leg 7: Genoa -> Jerusalem, Israel (NEL) Leg 8: Jerusalem -> Nairobi, Kenya Leg 9: Nairobi -> Perth, Australia (self-drive) Leg 10: Perth -> Hong Kong, China (NEL) Leg 11: Hong Kong -> Seoul, South Korea Leg 12: Seoul -> Las Vegas, USA Additional Information: Start line: Truist Park Finish Line: Hoover Dam Final Roadblocks:
Roadblock 1: Teams go to the Stratosphere hotel where the chosen team member must ride all three rides on the Stratosphere Tower looking for a clue that will lead them to 1 of 3 hotels on the Strip (Paris, Cosmopolitan, and Planet Hollywood). Once one of the clues is found they must tell the ride operator what hotel to receive their next clue.
Roadblock 2: Once teams arrive to their hotel the person that did not do the last roadblock must go into the casino of their chosen hotel and find a poker table that is covered in poker chips. Team members must look through the poker chips to find 12 chips (representing the 10 regular legs and both halves of the super leg) that have images of things they encountered on each leg of the race, however there are 12 chips with images of things that were not encountered on the race that are meant to throw team members off. Once the team member gets all 12 correct chips they must show them to the dealer so that they can receive the clue to the finish line.
Finish Line clue: Where the Grand Canyon and Silver states are joined. Answer: Hoover Dam.
Additional task: Upon arrival in Las Vegas teams must make their way to the Coca-Cola Store where they will order and drink the International Tray to receive their next clue.
It could be the best in terms of anything Paul Newman: The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, Exodus, From the Terrace, Paris Blues, Hud, Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man, Sweet Bird of Youth, Harper, Lady L, Hombre, Torn Curtain, Winning, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Secret War of Harry Frigg, The Prize, What a Way to Go!, The Outrage, and A New Kind of Love. Gregory Peck: To Kill a Mockingbird, Mackenna's Gold, The Chairman, Cape Fear, Captain Newman, M.D., How the West Was Won, Behold a Pale Horse, Marooned, Mirage, Arabesque, The Stalking Moon, and The Guns of Navarone. Steve McQueen: The Sand Pebbles, The Great Escape, Love with the Proper Stranger, The Magnificent Seven, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Cincinnati Kid, Bullitt, The Honeymoon Machine, The Honeymoon Machine, The War Lover, Soldier in the Rain, Nevada Smith, Baby the Rain Must Fall, and The Reivers. Dustin Hoffman: The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, The Tiger Makes Out, Madigan's Millions, and John and Mary. Peter O Toole: Lawrence of Arabia, Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Kidnapped, The Day They Robbed the Bank of England, The Savage Innocents, What's New Pussycat?, The Sandpiper, Lord Jim, How to Steal a Million, The Bible: In the Beginning..., Casino Royale, The Night of the Generals, and Great Catherine. Henry Fonda: How the West Was Won, Firecreek, Once Upon a Time in the West, Madigan, The Boston Strangler, Fail Safe, Sex and the Single Girl, The Longest Day, Advise & Consent, Spencer's Mountain, The Dirty Game, In Harm's Way, A Big Hand for the Little Lady, Welcome to Hard Times, The Best Man, The Rounders, Battle of the Bulge, and Yours, Mine and Ours. Toshiro Mifune: Shinsengumi, The Battle of the Japan Sea, Red Lion, Safari 5000, Hell in the Pacific, Samurai Banners, The Day the Sun Rose, Admiral Yamamoto, Japan's Longest Day, The Sands of Kurobe, Samurai Rebellion, Grand Prix, The Mad Atlantic, The Adventure of Kigan Castle, Rise Against the Sword, The Sword of Doom, Fort Graveyard, The Retreat from Kiska, Sanshiro Sugata, Samurai Assassin, Red Beard, Legacy of the 500,000, The Lost World of Sinbad, Whirlwind, Chūshingura: Hana no Maki, Yuki no Maki, Attack Squadron!, High and Low, Yojimbo, The Youth and his Amulet, Sanjuro, Tatsu, Three Gentlemen Return from Hong Kong, Salaryman Chushingura Part 1 & 2, The Story of Osaka Castle, The Youth and his Amulet, Ánimas Trujano, The Last Gunfight, The Gambling Samurai, The Bad Sleep Well, Man Against Man, and Storm Over the Pacific. Montgomery Clift: Judgment at Nuremberg, The Misfits, Freud: The Secret Passion, The Defector, and Wild River. Burt Lancaster: Judgment at Nuremberg, Birdman of Alcatraz, Elmer Gantry, Seven Days in May, The Leopard, The Professionals, The Unforgiven, The Young Savages, The List of Adrian Messenger, A Child Is Waiting, The Hallelujah Trail, The Train, The Swimmer, The Scalphunters, Castle Keep, and The Gypsy Moths. Marlon Brando: Mutiny on the Bounty, The Fugitive Kind, One-Eyed Jacks, Morituri, The Chase, Bedtime Story, The Ugly American, Reflections in a Golden Eye, Candy, The Appaloosa, The Night of the Following Day, Burn!, and A Countess from Hong Kong. Tony Curtis: Captain Newman, M.D., The Boston Strangler, Sex and the Single Girl, Spartacus, Pepe, The Rat Race, The Great Impostor, The List of Adrian Messenger, 40 Pounds of Trouble, Paris When It Sizzles, The Outsider, Taras Bulba, Goodbye Charlie, Not with My Wife, You Don't!, The Great Race, Wild and Wonderful, Boeing Boeing, Chamber of Horrors, On My Way to the Crusades, I Met a Girl Who..., Rosemary's Baby, Drop Dead Darling, Don't Make Waves, Monte Carlo or Bust!, and Who Was That Lady?. Robert Redford: The Chase, Tall Story, Situation Hopeless... But Not Serious, War hunt, Inside Daisy Clover, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Barefoot in the Park, This Property Is Condemned, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, and Downhill Racer. Anthony Perkins: Tall Story, Psycho, The Trial, Phaedra, Pretty Poison, Five Miles to Midnight, Goodbye Again, The Fool Killer, Une ravissante idiote, Le glaive et la balance, The Champagne Murders, and Is Paris Burning?. John Huston: Candy, The List of Adrian Messenger, The Cardinal, Casino Royale, and The Bible: In the Beginning John Wayne: How the West Was Won, The Sons of Katie Elder, The Longest Day, True Grit, El Dorado, Cast a Giant Shadow, The War Wagon, The Green Berets, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Hatari!, North to Alaska, The Alamo, The Comancheros, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Circus World, Hellfighters, and The Undefeated. Jack Lemmon: The Great Race,Pepe, The Apartment, The Wackiest Ship in the Army, The Notorious Landlad, Days of Wine and Roses, Under the Yum Yum Tree, Irma la Douce, How to Murder Your Wife, Good Neighbor Sam, Luv, The Fortune Cookie, The Odd Couple, and The April Fools. Marcello Mastroianni: 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita, La Notte, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Divorce Italian Style, Marriage Italian Style, The 10th Victim, Adua and Her Friends, Il bell'Antonio, Ghosts of Rome, La Notte, Family Diary, Family Diary, The Organizer, Kiss the Other Sheik, Me, Me, Me... and the Others, Casanova 70, Shoot Loud, Louder... I Don't Understand, The Poppy Is Also a Flower, Ghosts – Italian Style, Amanti, Break Up, The Stranger, and Diamonds for Breakfast. James Stewart: How the West Was Won, Firecreek, The Flight of the Phoenix, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Cheyenne Autumn, The Mountain Road, Two Rode Together, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, Take Her, She's Mine, Shenandoah, Dear Brigitte, Bandolero!, and The Rare Breed. Robert Mitchum: What a Way to Go!, Cape Fear, The Longest Day, El Dorado, Home from the Hill, The Sundowners, A Terrible Beauty, Two for the Seesaw, The Last Time I Saw Archie, The Grass Is Greener, The Way West, Mister Moses, Rampage, Man in the Middle, Anzio, 5 Card Stud, Villa Rides, The Good Guys and the Bad Guys, Secret Ceremony, and Young Billy Young. Robert Duvall: Captain Newman, M.D., True Grit, To Kill a Mockingbird, Bullitt, The Chase, Nightmare in the Sun, Countdown, and The Detective. Jean-Paul Belmondo: Breathless, That Man from Rio, Seven Days... Seven Nights, Trapped by Fear, Classe Tous Risques, The Lovemakers, Two Women, Lettere di una novizia, Love and the Frenchwoman, Le Doulos, Famous Love Affairs, Cartouche, A Man Named Rocca, Mare matto, The Winner, Sweet and Sour, Banana Peel, A Monkey in Winter, Backfire, Greed in the Sun, Weekend at Dunkirk, The Shortest Day, Magnet of Doom, Tender Scoundrel, Is Paris Burning?, Casino Royale, Male Hunt, Crime on a Summer Morning, Pierrot le Fou, Up to His Ears, Ho!, The Brain, Mississippi Mermaid, and Love Is a Funny Thing. Kirk Douglas: Seven Days in May, The List of Adrian Messenger, Spartacus, Is Paris Burning?, The War Wagon, The Way West, Lonely Are the Brave, The Heroes of Telemark, Town Without Pity, The Last Sunset, For Love or Money, The Hook, The Arrangement, The Legend of Silent Night, The Brotherhood, A Lovely Way to Die, and Cast a Giant Shadow. Charles Bronson: The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, Battle of the Bulge, Villa Rides, Guns of Diablo, X-15, The Bull of the West, 4 for Texas, Lola, Once Upon a Time in the West, Guns for San Sebastian, The Dirty Dozen, A Thunder of Drums, Kid Galahad, Master of the World, The Sandpiper, This Property Is Condemned, The Meanest Men in the West, and Adieu l'ami. Orson Welles: Casino Royale, Is Paris Burning?, The Trial, Kampf um Rom, The Thirteen Chairs, The Merchant of Venice, Battle of Neretva, Tepepa, The Southern Star, I'll Never Forget What's'isname, A Man for All Seasons, David and Goliath, La Fayette, Austerlitz, Crack in the Mirror, The Tartars, The V.I.P.s, Chimes at Midnight, In the Land of Don Quixote, Marco the Magnificent, House of Cards, The Immortal Story, and Oedipus the King. William Holden: Paris When It Sizzles, The Wild Bunch, The World of Suzie Wong, The Lion, Satan Never Sleeps, The Counterfeit Traitor, Casino Royale, The Devil's Brigade, The 7th Dawn, Alvarez Kelly, and The Christmas Tree. Frank Sinatra: Cast a Giant Shadow, The Detective, 4 for Texas, The Manchurian Candidate, Tony Rome, Pepe, The Devil at 4 O'Clock, The Road to Hong Kong, Sergeants 3, Come Blow Your Horn, None but the Brave, Paris When It Sizzles, Lady in Cement, The Oscar, Assault on a Queen, The Naked Runner, Von Ryan's Express, Marriage on the Rocks, and Robin and the 7 Hoods. Elvis Presley: G.I. Blues, Kid Galahad, Wild in the Country, Follow That Dream, Blue Hawaii, It Happened at the World's Fair, Girls! Girls! Girls!, Fun in Acapulco, Roustabout, Viva Las Vegas, Kissin' Cousins, Frankie and Johnny, Girl Happy, Harum Scarum, Tickle Me, Clambake, Easy Come, Easy Go, Double Trouble, Stay Away, Joe, Live a Little, Love a Little, Speedway, Change of Habit, The Trouble with Girls, Charro!, Spinout, and Paradise, Hawaiian Style. Edmond O'Brien: The Wild Bunch, The Longest Day, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Fantastic Voyage, The Great Impostor, The Last Voyage, The 3rd Voice, Birdman of Alcatraz, Man-Trap, Moon Pilot, Sylvia, Rio Conchos, The Hanged Man, The Outsider, Synanon, The Doomsday Flight, The Love God?, Flesh and Blood, The Viscount, and To Commit a Murder. Ben Johnson: The Wild Bunch, The Rare Breed, The Undefeated, Hang 'Em High, Cheyenne Autumn, Will Penny, One-Eyed Jacks, Ten Who Dared, Tomboy and the Champ, and Major Dundee. Warren Oates: The Wild Bunch, The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond, The Rounders, Ride the High Country, Private Property, Mail Order Bride, Hero's Island, In the Heat of the Night, Welcome to Hard Times, The Shooting, Return of the Seven, Smith!, Crooks and Coronets, The Split, Something for a Lonely Man, and Lanton Mills. Sidney Poitier: In the Heat of the Night, Lilies of the Field, A Patch of Blue, To Sir, With Love, A Raisin in the Sun, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Paris Blues, The Long Ships, Pressure Point,All the Young Men, The Bedford Incident, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Slender Thread, Duel at Diablo, For Love of Ivy, and The Lost Man. Rod Steiger: The Longest Day, In the Heat of the Night, The Pawn broker, Doctor Zhivago, No Way to Treat a Lady, Three into Two Won't Go, Seven Thieves, The Mark, 13 West Street, World in My Pocket, Convicts 4, Time of Indifference, Hands over the City, A Man Named John, The Loved One, The Girl and the General, The Sergeant, and The Illustrated Man. Ernest Borgnine: The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, The Legend of Lylah Clare, Pay or Die, The Last Judgment, Barabbas, The Italian Brigands, McHale's Navy, The Flight of the Phoenix, The Oscar, The Split, A Bullet for Sandoval, Ice Station Zebra, Chuka, Go Naked in the World, Black City, and Man on a String. George Kennedy: The Boston Strangler, Charade, Strait-Jacket, McHale's Navy, The Sons of Katie Elder, The Dirty Dozen, Shenandoah, The Flight of the Phoenix, Guns of the Magnificent Seven, The Good Guys and the Bad Guys, Cool Hand Luke, The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, The Man from the Diners' Club, The Silent Witness, McHale's Navy, Mirage, Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Island of the Blue Dolphins, In Harm's Way, Hurry Sundown, Bandolero!, The Ballad of Josie, Gaily, Gaily, and The Pink Jungle. Strother Martin: McLintock!, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Cool Hand Luke, Hurry Sundown, Sanctuary, Shenandoah, Harper, Nevada Smith, The Sons of Katie Elder, The Wild Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, True Grit, An Eye for an Eye, The Flim-Flam Man, Showdown, Invitation to a Gunfighter, and The Deadly Companions. Clint Eastwood: The Dollars Trilogy, Hang 'Em High, Where Eagles Dare, The Witches, Coogan's Bluff, and Paint Your Wagon. Eli Wallach: How the West Was Won, The Magnificent Seven, The Misfits, The Tiger Makes Out, Lord Jim, How to Steal a Million, A Lovely Way to Die, Seven Thieves, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Genghis Khan, The Poppy Is Also a Flower, How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life, Ace High, Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man, The Brain, Mackenna's Gold, Kisses for My President, Act One, The Moon-Spinners, and The Victors. Lee Van Cleef: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Posse from Hell, The Big Gundown, Sabata, Death Rides a Horse, Commandos, Day of Anger, and Beyond the Law. Richard Burton: The Sandpiper, Where Eagles Dare, Ice Palace, The Longest Day, The Bramble Bush, Zulu, Becket, Cleopatra, What's New Pussycat?, The Night of the Iguana, The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Taming of the Shrew, Candy, Boom!, The Comedians in Africa, The Comedians, Doctor Faustus, Staircase, and Anne of the Thousand Days. Paul Scofield: A Man for all Seasons, The Train, and Tell Me Lies. Warren Beatty: All Fall Down, Splendor in the Grass, Bonnie and Clyde, Lilith, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, Mickey One, Promise Her Anything, and Kaleidoscope. Albert Finney: Tom Jones, The Entertainer, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Two for the Road, The Victors, Night Must Fall, Charlie Bubbles, and The Picasso Summer. Lee Marvin: Hell in the Pacific, The Professionals, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Comancheros, Paint Your Wagon, Point Blank, The Killers, Donovan's Reef, Cat Ballou, Ship of Fools, Sergeant Ryker, and Hell in the Pacific. Anthony Quinn: Behold a Pale Horse, Barabbas, Zorba the Greek, Lawrence of Arabia, Guns for San Sebastian, The Rover, San Sebastian 1746 in 1968, The Secret of Santa Vittoria, A Dream of Kings, The 25th Hour, The Happening, Lost Command, Marco the Magnificent, The Visit, A High Wind in Jamaica, Heller in Pink Tights, The Savage Innocents, Portrait in Black, The Guns of Navarone, The Magus, and The Shoes of the Fisherman. Michael Caine: Hurry Sundown, The Magus, Zulu, The Ipcress File, Alfie, The Italian Job, Deadfall, Funeral in Berlin, Billion Dollar Brain, Battle of Britain, Gambit, The Wrong Box, Woman Times Seven, Play Dirty, Foxhole in Cairo, Solo for Sparrow, The Wrong Arm of the Law, The Bulldog Breed, and The Day the Earth Caught Fire. Rex Harrison: Cleopatra, My Fair Lady, Doctor Dolittle, The Happy Thieves, Midnight Lace, The Agony and the Ecstasy, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, Staircase, The Honey Pot, and A Flea in Her Ear. Sean Connery: The Longest Day, Dr. No, Marnie, Goldfinger, From Russia with Love, Macbeth, The Frightened City, On the Fiddle, Anna Karenina, Shalako, The Red Tent, You Only Live Twice, Un monde nouveau, The Hill, A Fine Madness, Thunderball, Woman of Straw, and The Bowler and the Bunnet. Spencer Tracy: Judgment at Nuremberg, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Inherit the Wind, The Devil at 4 O'Clock, and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Chishû Ryû: Late Autumn, Otoko wa Tsurai yo, The Human Bullet, Japan's Longest Day, The End of Summer, An Autumn Afternoon, The Human Condition 3, and The Last War. Martin Balsam: Psycho, A Thousand Clowns, Trilogy, The Good Guys and the Bad Guys, Around the World of Mike Todd, Me, Natalie, Around the World of Mike Todd, Hombre, Among the Paths to Eden, After the Fox, Harlow, The Bedford Incident, Seven Days in May, Suspense, Youngblood Hawke, Everybody Go Home, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Ada, Cape Fear, Route 66, and Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?. Alan Bates: Zorba the Greek, Georgy Girl, Far from the Madding Crowd, Women in Love, King of Hearts, The Fixer, The Entertainer, Zorba the Greek, Nothing but the Best, Whistle Down the Wind, A Kind of Loving, The Caretaker, and The Running Man. Alain Delon: Is Paris Burning?, Famous Love Affairs, Rocco and His Brothers, Purple Noon, The Leopard, Le Samouraï, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, Lost Command, L'Eclisse, The Joy of Living, The Devil and the Ten Commandments, Love at Sea, Carom Shots, Any Number Can Win, Joy House, The Unvanquished, Once a Thief, Texas Across the River, Adieu l'ami, Jeff, The Sicilian Clan, La Piscine, Spirits of the Dead, The Girl on a Motorcycle, The Last Adventure, and Diabolically Yours. Peter Sellers: What's New Pussycat?, Casino Royale, Woman Times Seven, Dr. Strangelove, Lolita, The Millionairess, Never Let Go, Two-Way Stretch, The Wrong Arm of the Law, The Dock Brief, The Pink Panther, Only Two Can Play, Mr. Topaze, Waltz of the Toreadors, Heavens Above!, A Shot in the Dark, The World of Henry Orient, A Carol for Another Christmas, Casino Royale, Woman Times Seven, The bobo, The Party, The Magic Christian, and I Love You, Alice B. Toklas. George C. Scott: The List of Adrian Messenger, The Hustler, Not with My Wife, You Don't!, The Flim-Flam Man, Dr. Strangelove, The Power and the Glory, The Crucible, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, The Bible: In the Beginning..., This Savage Land, and Petulia. Walter Matthau: Charade, Fail Safe, The Fortune Cookie, The Odd Couple, Strangers When We Meet, Lonely Are the Brave, Mirage, Ensign Pulver, Island of Love, Who's Got the Action?, Candy, Cactus Flower, Hello, Dolly!, The Secret Life of an American Wife, and A Guide for the Married Man. Jean-Louis Trintignant: Z, A Man and a Woman, The Great Silence, Austerlitz, Horace 62, Un homme à abattre, La Longue marche, Trans-Europ-Express, Le Combat dans l'île, So Sweet... So Perverse, L'Américain, Mata Hari, Agent H21, Journey Beneath the Desert, Il Sorpasso, Col cuore in gola, Death Laid an Egg, Les Biches, My Love, My Love, The Man Who Lies, Metti, una sera a cena, My Night at Maud's, The Libertine, The Sleeping Car Murders, Diamond Safari, Spotlight on a Murderer, Nutty, and Naughty Chateau. Max von Sydow: The Greatest Story Ever Told, Shame, Hour of the Wolf, The Virgin Spring, Through a Glass Darkly, Bröllopsdagen, 4x4, Winter Light, Hawaii, Adventures of Nils Holgersson, The Mistress, Made in Sweden, The Passion of Anna, The Quiller Memorandum, Svarta palmkronor, The Reward, and Here Is Your Life. Richard Attenborough: The Sand Pebbles, The Great Escape, Doctor Dolittle, The Angry Silence, Upgreen – And at 'Em, The Dock Brief, Only Two Can Play, The League of Gentlemen, All Night Long, Séance on a Wet Afternoon, The Third Secret, The Flight of the Phoenix, Only When I Larf, Guns at Batasi, The Magic Christian, Oh! What a Lovely War, and The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom. Melvyn Douglas: Hud, Hotel, The Crucible, Companions in Nightmare, Rapture, Inherit the Wind, Lamp At Midnight, Advance to the Rear, A Very Close Family, The Americanization of Emily, and Billy Budd. Woody Strode: Spartacus, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Sergeant Rutledge, The Last Voyage, Two Rode Together, The Sins of Rachel Cade, Che!, Once Upon a Time in the West, Boot Hill, Genghis Khan, Shalako, Black Jesus, The Professionals, Tarzan's Three Challenges, and 7 Women. Yûsuke Kawazu: The River Fuefuki, Ken, Manji, Kiri no Hata, Cruel Story of Youth, Genocide, Fighting Elegy, and Black Lizard. John Cassavetes: The Dirty Dozen, Rosemary's Baby, A Child Is Waiting, The Killers, Devil's Angels, Roma come Chicago, If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, Machine Gun McCain, and The Webster Boy. Laurence Harvey: The Outrage, Kampf um Rom, The Manchurian Candidate, The Ceremony, The Alamo, The Long and the Short and the Tall, BUtterfield 8, Walk on the Wild Side, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, The Running Man, A Girl Named Tamiko, Darling, Of Human Bondage, Summer and Smoke, Two Loves, The Doctor and the Devil, Rebus, The Spy with a Cold Nose, The Magic Christian, L'assoluto naturale, The Charge of the Light Brigade, A Dandy in Aspic, Life at the Top, The Outrage, and The Winter's Tale. Omar Sharif: Mackenna's Gold, Behold a Pale Horse, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, The Poppy Is Also a Flower, The Fall of the Roman Empire, Funny Girl, More Than a Miracle, Che!, Mayerling, Trois hommes sur un cheval, The Appointment, Genghis Khan, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, El mamalik, The Night of the Generals, Lawet El Hub, Nahna el talamiza, Gharam el assiad, Hobi al-Wahid, The Beginning and the End, The River of Love, A Rumor of Love, and There is a Man in our House. George Peppard: How the West Was Won, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Carpetbaggers, House of Cards, Home from the Hill, The Victors, The Subterraneans, P.J.,What's So Bad About Feeling Good?, Pendulum, Operation Crossbow, The Third Day, Tobruk, Rough Night in Jericho, and The Blue Max. James Garner: The Great Escape, Grand Prix, Duel at Diablo, 36 Hours, The Pink Jungle, A High Wind in Jamaica,Hour of the Gun, The Americanization of Emily, Cash McCall, The Children's Hour, Boys' Night Out, Action on the Beach, The Art of Love, Grand Prix: Challenge of the Champions, The Thrill of It All, Move Over, Darling, The Wheeler Dealers, Marlowe, Support Your Local Sheriff!, The Man Who Makes the Difference, Once Upon a Wheel, The Racing Scene, A Man Could Get Killed, How Sweet It Is!, and Mister Buddwing. Donald Pleasence: The Great Escape, The Night of the Generals, You Only Live Twice, Creature of Comfort, Will Penny, Fantastic Voyage, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Hallelujah Trail, The Caretaker, Suspect, No Love for Johnnie, The Shakedown, The Flesh and the Fiends, The Hands of Orlac, Hell Is a City, The Wind of Change, Circus of Horrors, Sons and Lovers, The Big Day, Dr. Crippen, Cul-de-sac, The Inspector, What a Carve Up!, Eye of the Devil, Matchless, Arthur? Arthur!, The Other People, The Madwoman of Chaillot, A Story of David, and Spare the Rod. James Coburn: Charade, The Americanization of Emily, The Magnificent Seven, Hell Is for Heroes, The Great Escape, Our Man Flint, In Like Flint, The Man from Galveston, The Murder Men, Hell Is for Heroes, What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?, Duffy, Candy, The President's Analyst, Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, Waterhole No. 3, Major Dundee, A High Wind in Jamaica, The Loved One, and Hard Contract. Cary Grant: Charade, The Grass Is Greener, That Touch of Mink, Walk, Don't Run, and Father Goose. Horst Buchholz: The Magnificent Seven, One, Two, Three, Fanny, Nine Hours to Rama, Marco the Magnificent, The Empty Canvas, Ankle Bone, Cervantes, That Man in Istanbul, Johnny Banco, and How, When and with Whom. Jackie Gleason: Soldier in the Rain, The Hustler, Gigot, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Skidoo, Papa's Delicate Condition, How to Commit Marriage, and Don't Drink the Water. Arthur Kennedy: Lawrence of Arabia, Barabbas, Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man, Claudelle Inglish, Cheyenne Autumn, Murder, She Said, Anzio, Shark!, A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die, Hail, Hero!, Nevada Smith,Murieta, Fantastic Voyage, Attack and Retreat, Joy in the Morning, Monday's Child, and Day of the Evil Gun. Peter Finch: Kidnapped, The Trials of Oscar Wilde, The Day, No Love for Johnnie, In the Cool of the Day, I Thank a Fool, Girl with Green Eyes, The Pumpkin Eater, The Flight of the Phoenix, Judith, First Men in the Moon, Far from the Madding Crowd, 10:30 P.M. Summer, Come Spy with Me, The Greatest Mother of Them All, The Legend of Lylah Clare, and The Red Tent. Hugh Griffith: How to Steal a Million,Exodus, Mutiny on the Bounty, Oliver!, The Counterfeit Traitor, The Citadel, Point of Departure, The Day They Robbed the Bank of England, The Inspector, Tom Jones, Term of Trial, The Poppy Is Also a Flower, Hide and Seek, The Bargee, The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders, On My Way to the Crusades, I Met a Girl Who..., Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad, The Sailor from Gibraltar, The Fixer, Il marito è mio e l'ammazzo quando mi pare, and Brown Eye, Evil Eye. Jason Robards: A Big Hand for the Little Lady, Hour of the Gun, Long Day's Journey into Night, A Thousand Clowns, Act One, By Love Possessed, Isadora, Tender Is the Night, Divorce American Style, A Big Hand for the Little Lady, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Any Wednesday, Once Upon a Time in the West, and The Night They Raided Minsky's. George Seagel: The Southern Star, No Way to Treat a Lady, Invitation to a Gunfighter, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Lost Command, The Quiller Memorandum, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, King Rat, Act One, The Young Doctors, The Bridge at Remagen, The Girl Who Couldn't Say No, Bye Bye Braverman, and The New Interns. Rod Taylor: Chuka, The Time Machine, Sunday in New York, The Glass Bottom Boat, 36 Hours, The Birds, Hotel, Nobody Runs Forever, The Hell with Heroes, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Seven Seas to Calais, Colossus and the Amazon Queen, Dark of the Sun, The Liquidator, Young Cassidy, Fate Is the Hunter, Do Not Disturb, and A Gathering of Eagles. Robert Ryan: Ice Palace, Billy Budd, The Longest Day, The Wild Bunch, The Dirty Dozen, Battle of the Bulge, The Professionals, Anzio, Captain Nemo and the Underwater City, A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die, Hour of the Gun, Custer of the West, The Busy Body, The Canadians, King of Kings, and The Crooked Road. Christopher Plummer: Battle of Britain, The Sound of Music, The Fall of the Roman Empire, Inside Daisy Clover, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Lock Up Your Daughters, Nobody Runs Forever, Oedipus the King, The Night of the Generals, and Triple Cross. Michel Piccoli: Le Doulos, Contempt, Diary of a Chambermaid, La Guerre Est Finit, Les Creatures, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Belle De Jour, Danger: Diabolik, Dillinger is Dead, The Milky Way, Topaz, Lady L, The Day and the Hour, Masquerade, L'Invitée, Climats, Les Petits Drames, Adieu Philippine, La dragée haute, Le Bal des espions, Amazons of Rome, All About Loving, The Sleeping Car Murders, The War Is Over, The Game Is Over, Belle de Jour, Benjamin, Shock Troops, La Chamade, and La Prisonnière. Tatsuya Nakadai: When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, Yojimbo,The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer, Immortal Love, Sanjuro, Harakiri ,High and Low, Kwaidan, The Sword of Doom, The Face of Another, Samurai Rebellion, Kill!, Goyokin, Portrait of Hell, Get 'em All, Daughters, Wives and a Mother ,Miren, A Woman's Life, Pressure of Guilt, Love Under the Crucifix, The Blue Beast, The Other Women, Kumo ga chigieru toki, Hakari, The Legacy of the 500,000, Saigo no shinpan, Blood End, Arijigoku sakusen, Kwaidan, Saigo no shinpan, Fort Graveyard, Cash Calls Hell, Illusion of Blood, Kojiro, The Age of Assassins, The Daphne, Today We Kill... Tomorrow We Die!, Rengō Kantai Shirei Chōkan: Yamamoto Isoroku, Blood End, Hitokiri, Eiko's 5000 Kilograms, and The Battle of the Japan Sea. James Mason: Lolita, Duffy, Mayerling, The Sea Gull, Age of Consent, The Blue Max, Stranger in the House, The Deadly Affair, Georgy Girl, The Fall of the Roman Empire, The Pumpkin Eater, Genghis Khan, Lord Jim, The Uninhibited, Hero's Island, Torpedo Bay, Tiara Tahiti, The Trials of Oscar Wilde, The Marriage-Go-Round, and Escape from Zahrain. Vincent Price: The Last Man on Earth, Witchfinder General, Convicts 4, Confessions of an Opium Eater, Tower of London, Tales of Terror, The Raven, Diary of a Madman, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death, The Tomb of Ligeia, Twice-Told Tales, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, The Comedy of Terrors, City Under the Sea, The House of 1,000 Dolls, The Pit and the Pendulum, Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile, Rage of the Buccaneers, Beach Party, House of Usher, Master of the World, Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs, Spirits of the Dead, The Trouble with Girls, The Jackals, More Dead Than Alive, and The Oblong Box. Jack Nicholson: The Raven, Easy Rider, The Little Shop of Horrors, The Shooting, Head, Hells Angels on Wheels, The Trip, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Psych-Out, Thunder Island, Back Door to Hell, Ride in the Whirlwind, Flight to Fury, The Wild Ride, The Broken Land, Studs Lonigan, Too Soon to Love, and The Terror. Rock Hudson: Lover Come Back, Send Me No Flowers, The Last Sunset, Marilyn, The Spiral Road, Come September, Strange Bedfellows, Man's Favorite Sport?, A Gathering of Eagles, A Very Special Favor, Seconds, Tobruk, Ice Station Zebra, The Undefeated, Blindfold, and A Fine Pair. Charlton Heston: El Cid, The Pigeon That Took Rome, 55 Days at Peking, The Greatest Story Ever Told, While I Run This Race, All About People, The Agony and the Ecstasy, Number One, Planet of the Apes, Counterpoint, Will Penny, Major Dundee, Khartoum, The War Lord, The Five Cities of June, and Diamond Head. John Gavin: Psycho, Midnight Lace, Back Street, The Madwoman of Chaillot, Thoroughly Modern Millie, OSS 117 – Double Agent, Tammy Tell Me True, Spartacus, Pedro Páramo, A Breath of Scandal, and Romanoff and Juliet. Stephen Boyd: Lisa, Billy Rose's Jumbo, Fantastic Voyage, The Poppy Is Also a Flower, The Big Gamble, Slaves, The Caper of the Golden Bulls, Shalako, Assignment K, The Bible: In the Beginning..., The Fall of the Roman Empire, Genghis Khan, The Oscar, The Third Secret, and Imperial Venus.
The hunt for Xavier Ligonnès is enough to drive you crazy. It’s like looking for a lost object, a bank card for example, of which we can determine the exact moment of disappearance: we used it to pay, it was there, and the next moment it is not there anymore. Logic dictates that we look for it where we usually store it (a wallet, a handbag), then where it could be (a back pocket of pants, a hall cabinet), and the less we find it , the more we seem to see it everywhere. Faced with absence, the brain constructs images (the credit card in an office drawer, as a bookmark in a book, forgotten on the counter of the last store) but these are fictions or mirages; they encourage further research but they do not provide a solution. Xavier Ligonnès’s apparent volatilization follows the same logic and produces the same effects on the investigation. The more weeks and months go by, the more places to look get smaller. Emmanuel Teneur ends up leading the investigators to the Société Générale agency on Place Royale in Nantes, but the safe he holds there is simply empty. A request for information on Joven Soliman is sent to the security attaché for the French Embassy in the Philippines. He is a sedevacantist priest, a fringe of traditionalist Catholicism who considers the Pope to be an imposter. The attaché transmits the hours of mass where he officiates. A trip to the Philippines is being considered, but that would mean going to the other side of the world to look for a needle in the thousands of islands of the archipelago. If this track has never been closed, nothing has supported it to date. Since we must push logic to the end, the investigators even contact the American authorities to corroborate or contradict the story of protected witnesses told by Ligonnès in his famous letter. The DEA has never heard of the individual, and the liaison officer based at the Miami consulate assures us that his last trip to the United States was in 2003: Ligonnès arrived in Florida on July 18 and left on August 22. The study of his entourage also did not highlight anyone capable of providing false papers to the fugitive, and if he had gone through a criminal network, the police believed that an informant would undoubtedly have warned them to protect himself. Then there are the news reports: the portrait of Ligonnès goes around France, and even if he has undoubtedly changed his physical appearance, his hairstyle, perhaps had even resorted to cosmetic surgery, someone, somewhere, might recognize him one day. After all, that’s how John List, a New Jersey insurance salesman who killed his wife and mother in 1971, was arrested. He waited for two of his children to return from school to coldly shoot them, then attended his youngest son’s football game before shooting bullets through him at home. He evaded justice for 18 years until a co-worker recognized him from a report on America’s Most Wanted. Rarely has a criminal case given rise to as many appeals as that of Ligonnès, because his stalking not only bewitches the police, it torments an entire country. More than 1000 reports, thousands of pages of depositions, letters, verifications. You have to imagine the miles of printed paper that this represents when they are stacked on a desk. The most recent: in July, after the broadcast of a Netflix documentary on the subject in the United States, the producers of the film claimed to have received an interesting lead in Chicago; but it’s just one more drop in the bucket. Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès has been seen in Annecy, Nancy, Cholet, Corsica (several times); on the side of a road, thumbs up, by a French tourist in Las Vegas; disguised as a chimney sweep in Nîmes; in a hotel in Cantal and in a pizzeria where he paid cash in a hurry; seen again in Germany, in Italy, and heard on the telephone by the reception of the psychiatric hospital of Troyes. Since he disappeared looking like the ordinary neighbor, since he was a representative and his profession has taken him to all corners of France, there is no less reason to see him in Mulhouse than in Roche-sur-Yon, and you can simply see him everywhere. Aire de Lançon-Provence in July 2020 Extracts: “It was the same look, except that he looked very sad, in the west, but he had the same glasses as in the photo you are showing me”; “He looked like a man like everyone else, but there was something odd in his eyes;” “Yesterday, around 1:00 pm, I was watching the news on television on the TFI channel. I saw a report where an individual killed his children and his wife before disappearing into the wild. (...) Seeing the gentleman in the photo, I made the connection with the person whom I had crossed Sunday afternoon because he had the same smile.” At the Vauvert tourist office: “I hardly look at the news, but Thursday evening I saw the photo of Mr. Ligonnès, I had the impression of having already seen him, my heart was racing.” Between Carpentras and Avignon, when he comes back from the bakery, the manager of one of Nicolas Sarkozy’s brothers crosses paths with a man with a beige bob, which he is certain is the fugitive. “I flashed,” he says. “For me, there is no doubt. This is him.” Still more letters are sent to the police to offer them help. An amateur astrologer requests a copy of the suspect’s birth certificate to establish a birth chart, a woman in child-like writing recommended a great medium who had helped her find her daughter who had become a junkie in Marseille. A prisoner asked in writing to be sent to Guinea to go hunt him down in the jungle, attaching to his letter a list of the necessary equipment, including infrared glasses and a “samurai sword.” With each letter, with each phone call to report a suspicious individual, investigators attempt to cross-reference the information. They patiently collect the testimonies of the depositors to know where Xavier Ligonnès was seen, if he was accompanied or not, what was his size and his outfit. Inconsistent testimonies or those referring to individuals who are too young (Ligonnès would be 59 years old today) and too small (he measures a little over 1.80 meters) are discarded. For the others, investigators check the CCTV recordings, when they have not been erased and when the cameras have actually recorded on tape. If the person has been spotted pumping gasoline, in a Géant Casino, or in a Courtepaille, they trace the means of payment used and seize the duplicates of bank cards. They give priority to the restaurants, especially the Buffalo Grill, Ligonnès’ favorite establishment. And when the trail is still hot and the dishes haven’t been done yet, they collect DNA from the plates and cutlery. A few months after the start of the investigation, the investigating judge in charge of the case will even be forced to ask them to slow down, the seals starting to take on the appearance of a china cabinet in a large restaurant. The Total service station in Lançon-Provence, July 2020 The PJ of Nantes believed on several occasions to finally have in hand the winning ticket and to be on the point of intercepting Ligonnès. This was the case in Borgo, where a photo taken from the video surveillance of a supermarket in this small Corsican town was very similar. Upon verification, it was only a local. They believed in it even more in January 2018 when they were told that an individual with a strong resemblance to Xavier Ligonnès was at the Saint-Désert Notre-Dame de Pitié monastery near Roquebrune-sur-Argens. About twenty police officers raided and searched the premises until they came across Brother Jean-Marie Joseph, who certainly looked disturbingly like Ligonnès, but who was not him. In still other cases, the police were never able to “close the track,” and it is perhaps Ligonnès who was seen. For example, in Lançon-Provence, April 26, 2011. That day, at 2:44 am, Mahjoub B., a handler by profession, parks his vehicle at the Total service station after the Lançon-Provence toll. He fills up, then goes to the store to pay. On his way, he passes a 45- to 50-year-old man, about six feet tall, who hangs out there between the gas pumps and the store. When he returns to his vehicle, his colleague asks him if he has seen the man, whom he is convinced is the one everyone is looking for, the one who killed his family in Nantes. Mahjoub then takes a new look at the individual, notices that he is wearing glasses, light jeans, that he has brown hair a little graying and a beard of a day. At his feet, four rigid shopping bags, one red, one white, one brown and one whose color he cannot distinguish. Inside the store, employees also noticed the individual. He’s been out for almost three hours. At one point, he walks in to ask for free coffee, as part of a promotion. Behind her cash register, Jocelyne H. notes a detail: he is missing a tooth. “The second on the left, I believe,” she says when heard by investigators. This is information that has never filtered out and yet, it’s true – a little detail, Xavier Ligonnès was missing a tooth. Little by little, the space has filled in, but you can always see it when he smiles. The images from the station’s surveillance cameras are confusing: if this man is not the one we are looking for, it must be his twin brother. At 3 a.m., the cameras show him hitchhiking by a Volkswagen Combi, which investigators quickly find. The driver’s name is Christophe B. He has not heard of the case, and he must be one of the only ones in the country; but Christophe is no longer listening to the news because, he says, “the news is bad all the time.” From the hitchhiker on the night of the 25th to the 26th, he remembers that he “did not smell very good” and that he had a growing beard. They didn’t discuss much. The man simply told him that he was coming from Paris where he had gone to see “his sick old father,” and that he wanted to take the train to Aix-en-Provence. Christophe dropped him off at a motorway exit, the 30 or the 31, between 4 a.m. and 4.15 a.m. The surveillance cameras at Aix train station allow you to get back on track. He is filmed on the forecourt at 6 am, he wears light pants, a dark jacket. He buys a ticket at 1.20 euro, free destination. Then we lose track. Despite all the checks, despite all the cameras, it will be impossible to track this man perfectly resembling Dupont de Ligonnès, who could nevertheless have confirmed that he was, at least on this date, still alive. How can one suddenly evaporate in plain sight, and how could a man who has collected chess all his life accomplish this feat? The XDDL mystery makes it possible to scaffold all the theories. These flourish in books, in docudramas and, of course, on the Internet. We imagine Ligonnès protected by the secrecy of a monastery, flown to the United States, where he can go unnoticed thanks to his English without an accent, or even on the escape alongside a woman he would have manipulated. The police officers in charge of the case do not work on theories or psychological profiles, but according to a scientific approach: they always start from a fact, which opens a track, which they then explore until the end, close, and move on to another. This method is also a way to protect yourself from endless guesswork, or insanity, but it doesn’t always work. Several times, the track looks like a highway towards the fugitive, and the police are convinced that they will finally close this investigation. But they end up stumbling upon the worst thing ever, as was the case with the allusion to Emmanuel Teneur’s sailboat: coincidences. Coincidence number 1. When the Ligonnès C5 was discovered in the Formula 1 car park in Roquebrune, the night watchman informed them that two reservations had been made in the name of Dupont Xavier, one on April 5 and the another on April 14. The hotel manager then specifies that the first reservation was actually made for April 6. That day, however, XDDL was in Nantes, probably digging the grave of Thomas, murdered the day before. Had he thought of accomplishing his crimes earlier or had he reserved a room for an accomplice, who might have been hiding something for him? The videos of April 5 and 6 are no longer available, but payment for the room was made with a Crédit Agricole credit card. The number gives a name, Faiçal E., and an address. Could it be an accomplice? The checks are launched immediately lead to a man who simply used “Dupont Xavier” as an assumed name - like Ligonnès - to book a night in the same hotel, the same year, the same month, within ten days. Coincidence number 2. The liaison officer in Miami launches research around the various aliases used by XDDL, for operations of “mystery shopper” or to stay in hotels. In the FBI file, he finds a certain Xavier Laurent, one of Ligonnès’s favorite nicknames, installed in Jacksonville, north of Florida. Jacksonville is not just any city. This is where Hugues, the cousin of XDDL lived, and it is also this locality that Ligonnès and his friend Michel Rétif declared to customs in 1990 during their trip to the United States. At the very end of the personalized letter sent to Michel on April 8, Xavier Ligonnès seemed to allude to it: “I will think about you there.(Not the right to tell you where, but you went there with me...in November 90…a clue to dig.LOL).” But this Xavier Laurent is another twist of fate: the police come across a certain Evan Shaffer, a petty criminal who has chosen this alias to commit crimes. Coincidence number 3. Ten days before the crimes, XDDL reconnects with a childhood sweetheart, Catherine K., whom he met in Versailles in the 1980s. Between March 22 and 24, they exchange text messages and try to find a date to meet the week of April 12, in Chamonix. These messages intrigue the investigators, some answers seem surprising, almost illogical, and they suspect Ligonnès of having wanted to ensure a logistical relay in his escape. A little later, a certain Patrick O. reports having seen XDDL in the queue of a Sixt car rental agency at Nice airport on April 17, 2011. By peeling the names of dozens of people having rented a car that day, the police officers miss the infarction: in capital letters, white on black, appears the surname of Catherine, who would have rented a vehicle at 1:30 am. A few hours later, their heart rate drops again: it was only a perfect disambiguation. Each coincidence causes the same chain of reactions. First a eureka!, the certainty of having finally found the tiny detail from which to trace everything. The police then cast their nets like fishermen on the high seas, telephone or banking requisitions, requests for listings, identity checks. Then they wait. It can last from a few hours to several weeks, and inevitably it is a burning, nagging wait, tense by the fear that the track will fly away. Finally, there is the immense disappointment and the obligation to face reality again: Xavier Ligonnès is still nowhere to be found, a track has flown again, and we have to hoist the rock up the mountain again. Those who have worked or are still working on the affair strive to maintain a cold, rational, police facade. But little by little, by dint of chasing a shadow - not even a shadow, a ghost - obsession lurks. One of them, a police officer with a professional Protestant pastor, now out of the investigation, still returned until recently to consult the investigation file every week, saying he simply wanted to put the 12,000 pages of documents in order. For a year, a criminal analyst has also been mobilized. He enters all the elements of the file in a software which digests them and spits out, perhaps, new threads to draw. In the meantime, the two police officers who are still following the investigation - one at the PJ in Nantes, one at the OCRVP, in Paris - “live” the case, as their colleagues say. Among these thousands of pages there is no doubt a clue that has gone unnoticed or, better, a lead that has not yet been explored. Track number 1. Who typed “fraternité saint-thomas becket” on Google on April 3 at 11:34 pm, before clicking on a link in the Cité-Catholique forum? Is it the same person who, the same night at 2:01 am, from an iPhone, did the search for “communion state mortal sin,” bringing it to the same forum? On April 8, the user of this phone will in any case send the search engine the request “hello Chacou”, which will lead him (her) again to the Cité-Catholique forum. Chacou was one of the pseudonyms of Xavier Ligonnès. Investigators saw crazier coincidences, but still: can it really be someone other than Xavier Ligonnès, who himself connected to Cité-Catholique almost every day of his escape? The last article published on the site about Saint-Thomas Becket, an ultra-traditionalist fraternity which practices mass in Latin, dates from January 2009. It indicates the name of its founder, Father Jean-Pierre Gac, and specifies this: “Born in the diocese of Blois where there are two communities (…), the fraternity has also extended in the diocese of Toulon - a parish is also entrusted to them in Ollioules.” Ollioules is located six kilometers from La Seyne-on-Mer, where XDDL spent its penultimate known night, and 94 kilometers from Roquebrune. Jean-Pierre Gac was questioned by the police but claimed to have never been in contact with the fugitive. Investigators have always believed in the possibility that Ligonnès took refuge in a monastery in the Var. They considered to search them one by one, before understanding that there are dozens and dozens of brotherhoods and fraternities, that they are not always castles of the Purple Rivers but sometimes simple farms, lost in the hinterland. To mount a search, it would be necessary to ensure that they do not communicate with each other, and therefore to visit them all at the same time. The examining magistrate quickly tempered the fervor of the police and declared the operation impossible. Track number 2. Xavier Ligonnès had two secret Facebook accounts. The first is named after his favorite country singer, Waylon Jennings. One of his nieces had also found him a month before the crimes, sending him a message, “but who is behind this nickname?,” to which XDDL had immediately replied “How did you manage to arrive on the Waylon Jennings Facebook profile? Too clever! Microsoft Advantage??? Kiss.” The second account concerns a certain “George Town” residing in Nantes and is linked to one of Ligonnès’ many email addresses, [email protected]. The police send a requisition to the management of Facebook in Palo Alto to obtain the creation and connection logs of the two profiles. The answer comes in days: the first was created in February 2010, the second in December 2007, when France had barely discovered the social network. Above all, the response indicates that Ligonnès connected to the two accounts on the night of April 4 to 5, between the first assassinations and that of Thomas. The profiles have since been deleted but suggest he could have used them to communicate with a third party. Catherine K., the youthful lover that XDDL contacted a few days before the tragedy, also reported to the police that she had been approached by a certain Philippe Steiner, whom she did not know, around May 20. He sent her a strange message, suggesting that they might have had a relationship in the past. When she went to respond, the profile had already been deleted. Today there are almost 100 Facebook accounts on behalf of Waylon Jennings, some are created and deleted every day. Track number 3. When the Ligonnès family is having their last meal on April 3, 2011, around 9 pm, a young woman walks through the glass doors of the police station on Place Waldeck-Rousseau in Nantes. Originally from a small village near Vannes, Julie is a BTS student and comes to file a complaint: the Twingo that her father lets her drive has been broken into, probably during the night. There was not much inside, but Julie reported the theft of her car radio as well as the vehicle’s logbook, which she normally stored in a small Renault gray faux leather pouch. This same pouch was found on April 22 in the dresser of the Ligonnès living room where Xavier used to store his papers, during the investigation the day after the discovery of the bodies. The police did not follow this track: they put the break-in of Julie’s car on the account of one of the Ligonnès sons, Arthur, who had already been arrested for theft of a bicycle and driving under the influence of cannabis. But why would Arthur have taken the vehicle papers with the car stereo, and why would he put them in the middle of his father’s papers? And if the theft was committed by Xavier Ligonnès a few hours before killing his family, how can this be explained? Was he able to steal other identity papers to facilitate his escape? In this case, it is always about cars. Those imported by XDDL from the United States, the Citroën C5 from the escape, the vehicles he claimed had been stolen over the years: the first at the Brest police station in 1998, while living in Pornic, a second at the same time at the Saint-Nazaire police station, and then again, in Nantes, on May 17, 2006, a Golf convertible finally found then sold a few months later to a mechanic, a friend of Cédric M. Cédric M. is never far away when it comes to cars. He is also a mechanic, that’s how Ligonnès met him in Vannes a few years earlier. He is one of the recipients of the departure letter, therefore a close friend. He was even the first employee of the RDC. Ligonnès regularly went to visit him in Locmalo in the heart of Morbihan, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Nantes. With Cédric and his partner, Renaud, they went to the local creperie. They had lunch there together on March 31, 2011, four days before the crimes. In the village, it is said that Ligonnès took care of the dark accounts of the “guys,” who have quite a reputation. Could he have built up a slush fund there that no one would have found until now? Cédric and Renaud’s garage is not indicated by any sign. It is at the end of a road. In the yard, wrecks of American cars and a goat on a leash. Inside, Renaud is working on a shiny yellow Cadillac. His attitude is confusing. He is angry with the police who have never come to question him when he is, according to him, “the last to have seen [Xavier] alive. But I will not tell you when, because that the date is important,” he adds before returning to his Cadillac, wrench in hand. To date, Renaud has still not been heard by investigators. At the same time, reports continue to flow. Ligonnès seen in Mulhouse, on the four lanes between Saint-Brieuc and Rennes in a Peugeot 308 and overtaking on the right, Ligonnès seen again in Tunis and Toulouse. Ligonnès seen, but never caught. Next Section-Part 2D
The Case of the Missing 40,000 Jerry Nugget Decks: A Detective Story NB: I first published this article (with pictures) at PlayingCardDeckshere. Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards. The story of the original Jerry's Nugget decks is a fascinating one, and there are many interesting side-stories to explore about along the way. You can read the main story about the Jerry's Nugget decks in my previous article here: The Legendary Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards. But the full truth still remains somewhat hidden, and there are aspects about the Jerry's Nugget story that even today we can't totally be sure about. And with the passage of time, several juicy tidbits of lore have become attached to this famous deck. In this article I invite you to join me in a quest to explore another juicy story that has become part of the Jerry's Nugget legend. Is it true that the final stock of 40,000 Jerry's Nugget decks was bought up from the casino by a mysterious overseas buyer? Because this is an oft-repeated part of the story, that you'll hear whispered rumours about across the landscape of the internet. But this a statement of fact or fiction, and is it truth or myth? It could mean that right now someone is potentially sitting on a small fortune of Jerry's Nugget decks worth around $500 a piece. If it's true. So please put on your Sherlock Holmes trench-coat and deerstalker hat, arm yourself with a good amount of deductive logic and persistence, and join me as we see if we can really get to the bottom of this mystery, and dredge up the truth behind this famed haul of 40,000 decks!
A Secret Stash of 40,000 Decks?
If you are curious - like I am - and do some digging about the story and history of the Jerry's Nugget decks, it won't take you long to stumble across mention of the claim that a stash of the final 40,000 decks of Jerry's Nuggets was bought up in a single swoop, cleaning out the casino's remaining inventory of these prized decks. The story about some lucky buyer nabbing a final stash of 40,000 decks is circulated quite widely around the internet. Do a Google search for "40,000 Jerry's Nugget" and look at how many hits this gets! Some places that sell the decks even include this in their ad copy. For example, here's the ad copy over at one online retailer, which was selling authentic decks for $525 before they sold out: Another online retailer says the same. Many reviewers have parroted this information as well, such as this example. So do various sites dedicated to information about playing cards, such as this example. As far as many people are concerned, this information is more along the lines of "fact" than fiction, and it's become part of the story that everyone accepts. Little wonder that it is often repeated by collectors in discussion forums about playing cards, and that it has given more than just one person a tinge of envy.
Who is the mysterious buyer?
So who is the lucky guy with 40,000 decks of precious Jerry's Nugget decks hidden in his basement or garage? And is the story even true? Some of the sources for this story seem quite credible. And they also reveal the buyer's name: French magician Dominique Duvivier. One person quotes Jordan Lapping, apparently among the first cardists to get Jerry's Nugget decks and use them for flourishing. Dominique Duvivier is a French magician who performs and works with his daughter Alexandra, and together they have a high profile in the world of French magic. They are even well known in the circles of international magic, and were featured on the cover of the June 2013 issue of Genii Magazine. Norwegian magician Allan Hagen has a long-time interest in the Jerry's Nugget decks, and he also mentions Duvivier's purchase of 40,000 Jerry's Nugget decks as apparent fact in something he posted on Reddit in 2015, where he describes his perspective on their rarity and value. You'll read similar reports in an article published by Ukrainian cardists Alexander and Nikolay about Jerry's Nugget decks in June 2017. Two things are common to all these accounts: the number 40,000 for the haul of decks purchased by the mysterious overseas buyer. And now his name: Dominique Duvivier. I contacted a number of different sources, including people who had personal connections with some of the key players who were closely involved when Jerry's Nuggets decks first became a fad among magicians and cardists in the late 1990s. One source told me: "Interesting, the name of the European magician - it was a big secret back then. Someone actually told me his name back then, but it was on the proviso that I never publish it. Well, I see it's out of the bag now."
Was Dominique Duvivier the buyer?
But is there any evidence that Dominique Duvivier was really the mystery buyer whose name had been a carefully kept secret for some time at least? It was time for some more detective work. Google brought me to Duvivier's personal website. It didn't take long to discover that Duvivier does indeed have a real fondness for Jerry's Nuggets Playing Cards. They are everywhere - in his photos, his videos, and his instagram. Judging by the many French-language comments on his site, it also becomes apparent that Duvivier is highly respected and appreciated in his home country for his magic. It's also evident from reading some of the comments that his Jerry's Nuggets decks are a signature of his performance. Some even consider them to be the equivalent of a Stradivarius that Duvivier uses to perform with as a master magician. But it was when I checked Duvivier's youtube channel that I found some real gold: Dominique himself performing with Jerry's Nugget cards in this clip. In fact, if you check out his other videos there, you'll find quite a few where he performs magic with Jerry's Nugget playing cards, like this performance from 2014, this more recent ace cutting routine, and this false shuffle. Duvivier has even contributed a Jerry's Nugget themed trick to the magic industry, entitled Jerry's Nuggets Cards in Bag. You can watch the promo video for this trick in French or English. His daughter Alexandra Duvivier successfully used it to fool Penn and Teller on their show Fool Us. Here's the episode, and some unseen footage. But just because Dominique Duvivier happens to really, really like Jerry's Nugget playing cards doesn't prove that he bought out a massive stash of the last 40,000 decks from the casino. So this still begs this question: Did any of this even happen? And is there really someone on this planet with a hoard of 40,000 decks, whether it is Dominique Duvivier or anybody else? One of my favourite photos on Duvivier's site is this one here, with his haul. If that's any indication, surely the legendary haul was starting to seem somewhat plausible. It was time to ask around, and check in with some of the people who were around when the Jerry's Nugget decks first became the rage. Of the sources I consulted, few could be considered more reliable than Lee Asher. For many people Lee is synonymous with the Jerry's Nugget phenomenon. He also had close connections with the events of the time, and was instrumental in bringing the Jerry's Nuggets into the limelight in the first place, by singing their paises. He was kind enough to respond when I contacted him for comment about Duvivier's alleged haul of 40,000 Jerry's Nugget decks, and Lee bluntly told me the following: "This is misinformation. There weren't 40k decks left in 1999. We don't even know if Jerry's even printed 40k decks." Really? Apparently Lee Asher knew Duvivier personally, and he was the very person who first told Duvivier that the casino even had the cards for sale. He also visited his home and shop in Paris many times throughout this period of time. In Lee's words: "Without a doubt, I NEVER saw 40k of ANY deck there. That's basically nine pallets worth. The house, their magic shop and night club weren't big enough to house these decks. It also seems Duvivier isn't the last one to buy the remaining decks. Jerry's Nugget Casino believes they sold the last case of cards to someone in Japan in 1999." Well, it seems that the story had to be put to rest. Was this entire story perhaps just a magnificent urban legend after all? And if it was, where does the number of 40,000 decks come from, and how did this story get so much traction that it spread all around the internet, and is accepted unquestionably by so many people? My task had just become a bit harder, but I wasn't going to give up yet. It was time to try to track down where the many websites that quoted this story got the figure of 40,000 from in the first place.
Where does the figure of 40,000 come from?
With some more digging, the oldest article I could find on the subject was by a card collector who has a collection of fine articles on his site, White Knuckle Cards. This particular article dates back to 2009, and is one of the earliest references to the legendary stash of 40,000 decks that I could find. This particular article seems to be the first time the figure of 40,000 pops up, pre-dating all the more recent mentions of it. And it's not hard to figure out how it spread from there. On 6 August 2015, someone called "Doctor Papa Jones" added these details to Wikipedia's article on Jerry's Nuggets, evidently relying on the White Knuckle Cards article. As a result the Wikipedia article now read as follows: "In 2000, a private collector purchased the remaining stock of 40,000 decks". So now this "fact" is on Wikipedia and has some real "credibility". In fact, the number 40,000 stays up on Wikipedia for the next five years unchallenged! And that allows it to spread around the internet and go wild. Because where does everyone go when they're looking for reliable, authoritative, and trustworthy information about something? Wikipedia! Despite the mention of the magical stash of 40,000 decks, Duvivier's name remained out of the spotlight for a further four years. It was simply a mysterious "private collector" who had purchased the big haul. But in 2019, someone connected the dots to Duvivier, and so the Wikipedia article was changed to include his name. So how did that happen? Well the supporting reference that Doctor Papa Jones included in his 2015 edit was a link to an article by Dan and Dave Buck, dating back to 7 Dec 2011. This article is also no longer available, but can be tracked down with the help of the Internet Archive here. It doesn't give the figure of 40,000 but does drop Duvivier's name. So the evidence seems to suggest this development: Apparently relying on the White Knuckle Cards article from 2009 as a source, the number 40,000 first embedded itself in the WIkipedia article on Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards in 2015. Slowly the story grew, until somebody finally connected the dots that were hidden in plain sight elsewhere on the internet, and as a result Duvivier's name gets added four years later. Now things are set up for a great story: Mr Duvivier is sitting on a massive stash of 40,000 Jerry's Nuggets in France. The story gained even more traction as a result of the revived interest in Jerry's Nuggets that inevitably happened when a tribute deck was printed in 2019. It was inevitable that many would rely on Wikipedia as a source, and so the details even ended up being quoted in ad copy for the reprinted decks. What had previously just been a matter of quiet rumour or speculation, was now considered as fact. Oh, the joy of Wikipedia - it has certainly helped promote quite the legend here! And it doesn't take a genius to see that if this is true, Duvivier could be sitting on a small fortune. At $500 each, 14,000 decks would be worth around $700,000. Naturally a market flooded with them would drop their value. But even if the going price dropped to $100 a piece, that would still value his holdings at over $100,000. Even if he just sold the occasional decks at $500 a pop, this windfall could generate a nice little secondary income. That is, if the legend is true, a fact yet to be proven....
Revising the figure
Because this year, the Wikipedia article was changed. By now of course the (mis)information about Duvivier's haul had gone far and wide, and a lot of potential damage has already been done. But on 25 March 2020 someone called "TheCongressGuy" changed it to read that Duvivier "purchased the remaining stock of 1,500-2000 decks". Suddenly the number of Duvivier's legendary purchase had been reduced from 40,000 to something around 5% of the size. A figure of 1,500-2000 seems much more likely. So who made the change and what was their source? I did some more digging and managed to track down TheCongressGuy. He is Kevan Seaney, who describes himself as an "antique playing cards collector, specializing in the Congress 606 brand" and posts here. In February 2020 he wrote here that he'd learned that Duvivier had not purchased 40,000 decks. I was curious, and eventually found the following video that he posted about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2pctAEuiZA And who was his source that Kevan credits for correcting the previous (mis)information about the number 40,000? If you watch that video, you'll find out that it is none other than the great Lee Asher. Lee Asher isn't just "anyone". He's a playing card expert, and the current president of 52 Plus Joker The American Playing Card Collectors Club. He's the guy who first generated public interest in Jerry's Nugget decks, brought them to the attention of cardists like the Buck twins and Chris Kenner, and was later a purveyor of these icon decks via his website. He's also had personal connections with Duvivier, was the person who informed Duvivier that they were available from the casino, and has personally spent a lot of time with him in Paris. And Lee Asher is a key person that has helped get real Jerry's Nugget decks into the hands of a new generation today. He's the guy who was instrumental in making a collaboration happen between Jerry's Nugget Casino and Expert Playing Card Company, by suggesting that EPCC get the exclusive licence needed to reprint these iconic decks in 2019, as announced in an official press release here. It's plain that along with EPCC's Bill Kalush, Lee Asher (pictured below) was singularly responsible for getting an officially licensed Jerry's Nugget deck back into the hands of a new generation and into the collections of those who couldn't afford the massive sticker price of the originals. So if anyone has a passion for the original Jerry's Nuggets, it is Lee Asher. Of anyone in this picture, Lee is the person with the most credibility, and his opinion and perspective should carry a lot of weight. With Asher as his source, Kevan Seaney points out that 40,000 decks of Jerry's Nugget playing cards is the equivalent of around 8 pallets. That's a massive amount, and would weigh around four tons. And it would take up a tremendous amount of space! Kevan cites Lee Asher as saying (via voice messages in Instagram) that in 1999 Asher told Duvivier that he could get the decks from the casino, and that Duvivier bought around 1,500-2000 decks at the time. Lee subsequently visited his home and store - France's oldest magic shop - in France many times. And according to Asher, there was no way Duvivier had room for 40,000 decks. Kevin also says that Lee Asher pointed out to him that these were technically not the final lot of decks sold by the casino anyway, and that the last decks (a "case" of unknown size) probably went to Japan. Wow. That really changes things! So based on this apparent "new information" from Lee Asher - who to his credit has apparently been saying this all along - Wikipedia gets a new edit by TheCongressGuy aka Kevin Seaney. The impressive figure of 40,000 is reduced to a much more modest 1500-2000, which is paltry by comparison to the much larger figures circulating the internet, and not nearly as impressive a story. But this is only after Wikipedia has been singing a different tune for five years, so the `damage' has been done, and the story of Duvivier's windfall of 40,000 Jerry's Nuggets is already accepted by most people as a true story.
Duvivier's own story
Suddenly it occurred to me to investigate Duvivier himself. Was this perhaps a line of inquiry that might produce some solid leads and definitive facts? Has the man himself ever commented on all these stories about his legendary haul? Could I find anything directly from the man himself that would shed some light on these legends? In fact, why hadn't I thought of this earlier? Just because nobody else seems to have dug up or reported anything from the man's own mouth, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. I slapped myself for my own foolishness, and headed back to Google. As it turns out, Duvivier has written about this! But because it's an article in French, it's escaped notice from most people. Since he's popular as a professional magician in France, he not only has his own website, but he also writes his own blog. And sure enough, he's addressed this very topic in a blog article that he wrote in April 2011 under the title "Magiphageuh No 14: Les Jerry's Nugget". With the help of an online translation tool, we learn this:
"As most of you already know, I only use real "Jerry's Nugget" cards to work with and have been doing so for many years. As these cards happen to be extremely rare to find on the market (I am obviously talking about the original Jerry's Nugget cards and not the recently reprinted ones) and they excite the magical world a lot, I am therefore constantly asked how many I own, how long have I owned them, what deal I made to get them and with whom, why do I have so many cards, why did I choose these specifically, why don't I want to sell them, why, why, eh?! And I hear such amazing stories about myself on these famous "Jerry's Nugget" cards that I decided to speak on the subject myself today."
This sounds very promising! Duvivier then goes on to tell the story about how the Jerry's Nuggets gained their legendary reputation, and the unique qualities they have. In France in the 1970s, American playing cards were quite rarely seen, and Duvivier knew a French pilot commandant called Reyno who loved magic, who would occasionally bring back cards from the US to a small circle of French magicians. At this time even standard Bicycle and Tally Ho decks were prized by these French conjurers, so besides them a Jerry's Nugget deck was considered a real crown jewel. Over the years Duvivier occasionally got more of the Jerry's Nugget decks, sometimes even an entire case of them at once, especially via his friend Michael Weber, who was his main supplier. We fast forward to 1999, when he finds himself heading to Las Vegas to perform at The Magic Castle. Here's the story in his words, courtesy of an online translation tool:
"In 1999 (if I'm not mistaken) my daughter Alexandra and I were hired to perform for a whole week at Magic Castle and then for a few contracts in Las Vegas. You may think that I had only one idea in mind at the time: a trip to the original casino where my favourite cards were from, Jerry's Nugget! Michael Weber had told me that there were still a few decks for sale there, so as soon as we arrived I immediately asked Philip Varricchio, who had come to pick us up in a limousine, to take us there. He was rather surprised, as we hadn't even put our bags down at the hotel (yes, I'm a fool) and the old Jerry's casino wasn't really known for being a must-see place! So I told him that I wanted to go there to buy Jerry's Nugget cards. According to him it was impossible to get them for the simple reason that they hadn't been around for a long time, but I was so insistent that he finally complied (hey, hey, hey!). When we arrived there, we went to the gift shop of the casino and I asked the salesman if he was selling their decks. - Yes," he told me, "I have a few. He shows me a small piece of wall in the back of the store where a hundred decks were on display. I ask about the price. Not even expensive! - Well, I'll take them," I say (laughs). And of course I ask if he has more in reserve! Yes, there were about a hundred boxes left (each box containing a large number of cards, 144 decks!). After a little negotiation, the unit price was even lowered to less than $1. That's it, that's how it happened and that's it. In fact, in all this story, the most difficult, the longest and the most expensive was to get the stock back to France. Since then, I've been seeing, little by little, the bids going up on these cards in a rather hallucinating way, whereas, of course, that wasn't my initial motivation at all. From the moment I bought the remaining stock, it's as if everyone wanted to own even more! But I just wanted to have enough stock of Jerry's Nugget decks because I'm a card fanatic and these in particular. I use these cards because they're the best cards I know and I've fought like a big man to own enough of them for me (I should mention that I never had a middleman or a partner to buy these cards). Anyone could have done as I did and I don't understand why no one did: you just had to take the trouble to go to this casino, because the cards were available! In any case, now they are all warm and cosy in different safes, which I won't tell you about. They say I'm the person with the most cards in the world, but I have to say I don't care. I know Chris Kenner is the one who planned it, he has a lot of them too. I've been offered golden bridges to sell a few packages, or even my entire stock. I've had some incredible offers over the years. I never intended to create a buzz with these cards: I just use them for my own personal consumption, that's all...because they're my favorite cards."
Probably the key sentence in that account is this, and the best translation seems to be something like this: "Yes, there were about a hundred boxes left (each box containing a large number of cards, that's 144 decks!)." The formula is simple: around 100 boxes with 144 decks each. If true, that would mean 100 x 144 = 14,400 decks. Given that this is directly from the horse's mouth, suddenly the story becomes slightly more plausible. So too is his additional statement: "In all this story, the most difficult, the longest and the most expensive was to get the stock back to France." That suggests he didn't bring the whole stash to France in one go, which might explain why visitors like Lee Asher and others who saw his home and magic shop never saw any evidence of them. I'm not a French speaker, so I'm happy to be corrected if I'm misunderstanding anything Duvivier has written - by all means check the article for yourself in the original French, to see if I've got it right. But the long and short of it seems to be that Duvivier is saying that what he bought from Las Vegas around 1999 was not a stash of 40,000 Jerry's Nuggets decks, but 14,000 decks. 14,000 is not nearly as impressive a figure. But even though it's only a third of the size of what the legend floating around the internet says, 14,000 decks is still an incredibly impressive haul. Certainly the amount of pictures and videos that show Duvivier performing with Jerry's Nugget cards, seems to suggest that they are very much part of his regular repertoire. It could just be possible, and maybe I've finally found the truth! Perhaps the most defining photo of all is this one (credited to Zakary Belamy), which shows Duvivier enjoying a bath with his Jerry's Nugget playing cards! Given the value of these playing cards on the market today, some might consider this sacrilege, but it sure suggests he has a large enough supply of Jerry's Nugget cards. At any rate, his collection of them seems large enough that he can even afford to take them to the bath for a photo op along with his favourite yellow rubber ducky.
But is it true?
Was the mystery solved at last? It was time to get back in contact with Lee Asher, and share my findings. But despite the claims of Duvivier in his 2011 article, Lee is not convinced that Duvivier is a credible source. To be fair, this is what Lee Asher has been saying all along, and for years he's been saying that the story about the legendary haul of 40,000 decks wasn't supported by the facts. Ultimately what this comes down to is: are we going to believe what Duvivier says? For the most part, Duvivier has appeared to have had little interest in setting the record straight, despite the fact that the rumour of him nabbing 40,000 decks persisted as long as it did. And if he does have a large stash, why has he shown little interest in selling any of the decks that he does have, instead being happy to hoard them or use them only for himself? Would he really have spent all the time, energy, and money necessary to ship even 14,000 decks of playing cards across the ocean from the United States to Europe, just for his personal usage, at a time when the street value of these was only a dollar or two a piece? And if he did, where did he put them, and why has nobody ever seen his stash, including those who visited his home? There are other details about Duvivier's record of events that call aspects of his narrative into question, such as his complete omission of any mention of Lee Asher, who was the one who made him aware of where he could get them. And in those days, the casino gift shop was very small, so is it really reasonable for them to display 100 decks on their back wall, as Duvivier claims in his 2011 article, when they had such little space to work with? I had some private correspondence with another magician/cardist who has also stayed at Duvivier's house, and that individual expressed similar sentiments. He agreed that there was no evidence of Duvivier ever owning that many decks. Just do the math: 40,000 decks would mean Duvivier could use a brand new deck every single day for more than 100 years before he chewed through a collection of decks that size. Again: very unlikely. If he really did have that many, it would be way more than he could ever use, and surely he would have sold some by now - which he hasn't. This person remains somewhat skeptical, but acknowledges that the figure of 14,000 is a more realistic number that is not beyond the realms of possibility, especially if Duvivier has them locked up in a storage facility in Paris somewhere. As an educated guess, it seems that there is good reason to cast some suspicion on this story, and there are some aspects about it that seem rather unlikely. Shipping that many decks, at the time only worth a buck or two each at most, all the way from Las Vegas to Paris would be crazy. But a man willing to jump into a bath with a yellow rubber duck and destroy $1000 worth of playing cards in the process strikes me as crazy enough to do it. Perhaps Duvivier's story is true after all.
A final twist
I was now several weeks into my adventures as an investigative journalist, and I was getting ready to wrap up my story and publish it. But there was one final lead that I had not yet explored. If I was really going to try every possible avenue of information, I had to try contacting Dominique Duvivier himself. Why not? Admittedly, the odds of getting a response from someone about his apparent stash of precious Jerry's Nuggets wasn't likely. If there was any truth to the story about his legendary haul, even to some degree, then he's undoubtedly had hundreds of inquiries over the years. Just imagine the long lines of people asking him about his stash, trying to convince him to part with some of it. If yet another email comes in on this subject, he'd probably roll his eyes and press `delete'. He is working full time as a professional magician after all, and has a career to worry about. I couldn't blame him if he was tired of responding to what undoubtedly would be countless messages from prospective buyers. But I had no intention to buy anything, so as a good amateur journalist, I had to try. It was a long shot, but to my surprise, I got a response from Duvivier the very same day! It wasn't much, but it included one unexpected bombshell - especially after the journey I'd been on so far: "You'll be glad to know that a special article is going to appear in next Genii Magazine. It's called Dominique Duvivier and Jerry's Nugget cards." I was stunned. Was someone else working on exactly the same story as me, and had they beat me to the punch? Maybe even Duvivier himself? Could it really be true that in little more than two weeks time, the next issue of Genii was scheduled to come out, and would potentially reveal all? Suddenly I knew that I had to wait with publishing my story. In further emails, Dominique was tight-lipped about any more details. At the very least, surely I would have to wait until that issue of Genii was available, and fork out my cash and purchase a subscription in order to read it. I owed it to my readers to explore every last clue, and give them a story that included all the evidence. So that is what I did. I waited for the July issue to appear online. Digital editions of Genii are released online each month on the 20th of the month. Finally 20th of June rolled around, and I eagerly perused the contents of the latest issue. Nothing. Nothing remotely Duvivier related. Nothing Jerry's Nugget related. Was Duvivier for real? An inquiry with the editor of Genii produced this response: "Not this issue. Coming up." Would it be August or September maybe? Further inquiries produced only silence. In follow up correspondence with the Frenchman himself, Duvivier told me "I wrote the article myself. It?s quite long." That sounded promising, but it could just be about his love affair with Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards, rather than a "tell all" story about his haul. There still was no guarantee that it would even be published. And I couldn't be sure that it would offer any more information than his blog article from 2011 which already gave his side of the story, or that it would be any more reliable than the version of events he'd provided there. Was it really worth waiting any longer? It was time to share my findings with the world anyway, and I could always provide an addendum to my story if any credible new information appeared.
Is this the final word on this subject? No. I've tried to do the best I could based on information available to me, and shared as much as I could with my readers, so that you can form your own conclusions based on the evidence so far. Undoubtedly there are still some missing puzzle pieces, and in future years some new information could come to light that shows that some of my conclusions were misplaced or that puts aspects of this story a slightly different perspective. Today we are two full decades removed from the time when the original decks first sold out at the Jerry's Nugget casino. And the further removed in time that we come, the harder it becomes to uncover the truth. Memories become murky. As it is nobody at the casino seems to remember the specific details of what happened. At the time they were probably only too glad to get the remaining stock out of their hands, and nobody could have anticipated how these decks would become the famous icons that they are today. Even their chief evangelist Lee Asher has to be somewhat surprised at the turn of events he's produced since first singing their praises some twenty years ago! So what can we conclude from all of this? Here's some final thoughts that I'll leave you with: 1. Don't believe everything you read on the internet. Unfortunately, it's a fact of modern life that not everything on the internet is true. And as we've seen, this also applies to sites like Wikipedia. For topics that have a large number of experts or people interested in a particular subject, changing the facts on a Wikipedia article will quickly see the changes being reverted. But with a more niche subject, like Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards, and especially when it concerns circumstantial material that nobody is quite sure about, it's easy for misinformation to enter Wikipedia. And once it's embedded there, eventually the lore spreads and becomes considered as "fact". So it's important to check your sources, and don't take everything you see online as gospel truth - even if it's on Wikipedia. 2. The legend about the stash of 40,000 decks should be put to rest once and for all. It's a myth, and there simply is no evidence for this claim anywhere. At most, there is the claim from Duvivier himself that he bought up about 14,000 decks. That might be true, but again, we only have his word for this. As a counter-point, there are those like Lee Asher who know Duvivier and have visited him many times, and insist that they never saw any evidence of this. The enormous cost of shipping a large stash like this to Europe already makes it somewhat hard to believe. There's no doubt that Duvivier is a huge fan of Jerry's Nugget decks, and he appears to own and use them more than most. But in the end, how credible is he? How seriously are you going to take someone who is happy to post a picture of himself in a bath with a rubber duck and playing cards from a Jerry's Nugget deck? Either that means he has far more decks than he knows what to do with, or he is a little loopy. Or perhaps it's a bit of both. You've had an opportunity to read all the evidence for yourself, so you decide. Either way, we can safely say that there has never been a stash of 40,000 decks, and the jury is out on whether there was even ever a stash one third of this size. But even if the size of the legendary stash turns out to be smaller than first thought, the reputation and magnetism of the Jerry's Nugget decks has only increased in size, and these now iconic decks will remain firmly embedded in playing card lore. ------------------ Update from the writer: After the original publication of this article, Dominique Duvivier personally phoned me on 24 July 2020 to discuss it, and to share his side of this story. He remembers events slightly differently than Lee Asher does. As Duvivier recalls it, his own interest in the Jerry's Nugget decks dates back to the 1970s and 1980s. At that time he was sourcing them from his friend Michael Weber, who along with magicians like Chris Kenner was also interested in these decks. According to Dominique, he only met Lee Asher during his USA tour in 1999, after he had already bought out the remaining stock from the Jerry's Nugget casino. Duvivier confirmed that the figure of 14,000 accurately reflects the approximate number of decks he purchased from the casino at this time. He shipped the majority of these to France by boat, and stored them in a warehouse, intending them to serve as a life-time supply for himself and his family. Look for his story in an upcoming issue of Genii magazine.
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