Whatever the idea of “canonized” suggests, few films of such order are quite so well-liked and perpetually referenced (or just ripped-off) as Le Samouraï, leaving me somewhat surprised we haven’t yet had a 4K treatment in the United States. But it was just a matter of time, and Jean-Pierre Melville’s ice-cold thriller now receives its due: Criterion and Pathé returned to the original 35mm negative for a restoration Film Forum debuts in a two-week run starting March 29.

Ahead of this comes a trailer that, even accounting for streaming compression, suggests the spectacular––Melville’s cool palette luminous as ever, the mono sound punchier than Criterion’s old DVD.

Find the new preview and poster below:

Professional hitman Delon lies fully-clothed in his threadbare monochrome apartment, then goes off to a day at the office: stealing a car, killing a man in a nightclub, setting up an ironclad alibi, and outsmarting the cops. Two problems: his anonymous employers don’t trust him and he’s left one witness behind, jazz pianist Cathy Rosier.

LE SAMOURAÏ is the tour de force of France’s maitre du policier: blacker than noir in its silence, isolation, and stylization, and unrelenting in its suspense. The masterly set-pieces—two highly dissimilar car thefts; the line-up; the police tail on the Métro; and the hit itself—have been quarried by other moviemakers for decades. Melville described the film himself as “the analysis of a schizophrenic by a paranoiac – because all creators are paranoiac.”

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