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A young couple, Renee and Pierre, take one night a room at the Hotel du Nord, in Paris, near the canal Saint-Martin. They want to die together, but after having shooted at Renee, Pierre lacks of courage and ran away. Another customer, Monsieur Edmond, a procurer, rescues her. When Renee goes out of the hospital, she is hired as a waitress at the hotel. Monsieur Edmond falls in love with her, but Renee is still thinking of Pierre ... Written by
I suppose I always felt that Hotel Du Nord was studio-bound, the movement of people cars and camera were just too effortlessly smooth and stagey to have been filmed on location. But no problem - it's still a much underrated lovely composition from Marcel Carne. The plot seems a bit choppy at times, as if they were making it up as they went along, but because it is unpredictable holds the attention to the bitter end. The comings and goings and goings-on at hotels are always full of rich possibilities anyway. The money shots when the two lovers are alone in their room are saddled with some rather stilted dialogue, but it's all so lovely to fall into any inanity can be accepted. Are these two young people symbols of a cancerous hopelessness in pre-War France or simply idiots? Suicide pacts are fairly common; if the suicidees are young and healthy with their lives before them untrammelled would you think anything other than that they were just misguided fools?
Arletty played the part of prostitute well - she kept that zipper on her dress busy throughout anyway! I've only seen a few films with Jouvet - he is the most impressive invention as pimp in HDN - my trouble is shallow: every time I see his face I think of Sonnie Hale in Evergreen!
A remarkably atmospheric, well acted and photographed film with so much happening it needs a few viewings to get it all in place. Annabella and Aumont made an exceptionally beautiful couple; Francois (Heurtebise) Perier in his 2nd film had a small amusing part as a gay man. All in all, a wonderful film. Next: Le Jour Se Leve.
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