The existing IMDb reviews of "Cloportes" (1965) are mostly on target with regard to its positives and negatives. One can expect lovely cinematography within Paris, fine performances from sturdy Lino Ventura and enchanting Irina Demick, and a movie that combines crime and wit.
As I see it, this movie strikes out in a neo-noir direction by suffusing its noir plot and violence with black humor. Made in 1965, this has to be regarded as an early such creative effort. Later on, many neo-noirs found a successful and satisfying balance between and integration of violence and humor. In this movie, this balance and integration are not fully realized. The result is some oscillation between the two that results in some audience emotional confusion. That is to say, neither the violence nor the humor succeeds in having its full impact on the audience. Some awkwardness enters in, especially in the roles and reactions of the characters whom Lino Ventura is seriously stalking. There is offscreen violence that is treated rather flippantly, and it doesn't quite come off. Instead of enhancing and highlighting the ironies of the noir character, this humor tends to submerge and diffuse it.
The early part of the story, which involves preparations for a heist and the actual heist, is far more even in its serious tone. The treatment of Ventura in jail, abandoned by the other thieves who have bilked him, is done very nicely and cleverly using old newsreels that poke fun at the changing and unchanging times.
There are three notable female roles in this movie, and they all add greatly. Each actress successfully marries seriousness and wit in one role. Irina Demick plays the assistant in Pierre Brasseur's art store and Ventura's lover. Françoise Rosay plays an underworld vendor of blow torches and weapons. Annie Fratellini plays a prostitute who is pimped by one of the thieves. Unfortunately, as written and directed, the roles of the thieves whom Ventura is after are too slapstick and/or exaggerated to provide the proper result. This is where the movie tends to falter. Pierre Brasseur almost achieves the right balance. Between him, Lino Ventura who is serious throughout and the excellent work of Demick, this movie finds its center.