In the 1920s, the Provence is a magnet for immigrants seeking work in the quarries or in agriculture. Many mingle with locals and settle down permanently - like Toni, an Italian who has ... See full summary »
Vienna in the beginning of the twentieth century. Cavalry Lieutenant Fritz Lobheimer is about to end his affair with Baroness Eggerdorff when he meets the young Christine, the daughter of ... See full summary »
A news-reel like movie about early part of the French Revolution, shown from the eyes of individual people, citizens of Marseille, counts in German exile and, of course the king Louis XVI, ... See full summary »
A charismatic thief makes friends with a bankrupt baron who comes to live in the thief's slum. Meanwhile the thief seeks the love of a young woman, who is held emotionally captive by her slumlord family.
An upper-class corporal from Paris is captured by the Germans when they invade France in 1940. Assisted and accompanied by characters as diverse as a morose dairy farmer, a waiter, a myopic... See full summary »
Etienne Alexis, a candidate for president of the new Europe, is a scientist promoting artificial insemination for social betterment and therapy to eliminate passion. His wealthy household (... See full summary »
The 'dreamer' is Jacques, a young painter, who by chance runs into Marthe as she's contemplating suicide on the Pont-Neuf in Paris. They talk, and agree to see each other again the next ... See full summary »
Guillaume des Forêts,
Boudu, a tramp, jumps into the Seine. He is rescued by Mr Lestingois, a gentle and good bookseller, who gives shelter to him. Mrs Lestingois and the maid Anne-Marie (Mr Lestingois' mistress... See full summary »
The first filmed Simenon novel and the first Maigret film
This dreary film was a bad start for Simenon on the screen. Surprisingly, it was directed by Jean Renoir, who could rise to such heights as a great director, but here sank to unparalleled depths of mediocrity and dullness. It was not as if Renoir was new to directing, for he had already directed several films before this one. So there is no excuse. Because the action of the film largely takes place at night (as the title indicates), the film is literally very dark indeed. The lighting is terrible, and as it was such an early sound film, the sound is not much better. But the greatest disappointment of all is Pierre Renoir, older brother of Jean, in his role of Commissaire (Inspector) Jules Maigret. He is dull, dull, and duller. Many will remember him fondly from the later film LES ENFANTS DU PARADIS. But he was no good as a Maigret. He gives the character no personality whatsoever. A golem could have done a better job of it. Those of us who appreciate Jean Gabin and Bruno Cremer as Maigret can only sink into a slough of despond at the sight of this lifeless first screen incarnation of our hero. The Danish actress Winna Winifried, in her first screen appearance, attempts to inject some mystery into the film by her extraordinarily louche and languid performance, a deeply weird portrayal which if better exploited and directed could have worked very well indeed. She ceased work in 1940 with her seventh film, and as far as IMDb is concerned, vanished from the world after that. I wonder if the Danes could tell us more. She must have fled the Nazi invasion of Paris in that year, and who knows what might have become of her after that. She had made four French films and three British ones, none of which seems to be particularly known today, and only one has been reviewed by a single specialist reviewer, except for this one, which has been revived recently. As for the story, it is a rather meandering and feeble one, involving the smuggling of cocaine in automobile tyres. Perhaps that is why the action appears to go round in circles. Jacques Becker (father of Jean Becker), who three years later was to begin his directing career, was Production Manager. A third member of the Renoir family also worked on this film, Claude Renoir, who was focus puller. Three years later, he commenced his career as cinematographer, and only retired in 2010, after 86 films in that job. Truly the Renoir family have made their mark on French culture. Claude Renoir's most spectacular success as a cinematographer was probably, and most appropriately (considering who his grandfather was), the magnificent film about another famous painter, LE MYSTÈRE DE PICASSO (1956), directed by the brilliant Henri-Georges Cluzot. He was also the cinematographer for his brother Jean's magical and evocative film THE RIVER (1951), a classic made all the more memorable by Claude Renoir's fine work in capturing the atmosphere of India on location. It is such a pity that all these talented people could not have done a better job on this particular film, but there is no use pretending that they succeeded, because they did not. I agree with another reviewer who says that this film is 'awkward, amateurish and even inept'.
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