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This picture should go by its French title, "Mollenard", since in 2013 'Hatred' conjures up images of hate crime and blind hypocrisy. Mollenard is the name of the title character, a ships Captain without a moral compass. Any hatred conjured up by the alternate title is directed at any authority figure and, especially, his harridan wife. I would not call it a 'noir' because, without going into detail here, it does not meet noir criteria. Besides, it is too early in film history for such a label.
And so, I was not totally prepared for what was on the screen. I found it was a one-man show about a Captain (Harry Baur) who hated his wife and loved the sea. He was employed by a shipping company and was a gun runner on the side. It is a fascinating portrait of a man leading two lives, preferring the one that keeps him away from home. Approaching old age, he has become careless(carefree) and self-indulgent, and with a ruthless element in business dealings, which take place in Shanghai. This is the melodramatic part of the film, while scenes at home in Dunkirk are tinged with a great deal of humor, chiefly in exchanges between the Captain and his wife.
It is a tour de force for Baur, who was reputedly a renowned actor in 20's and 30's Europe. The contrast between the libertine Captain and his grasping, status-conscious wife (Gabrielle Dorziat) is a thing to behold. And the bond between him and his fiercely loyal crew is palpable. The film was shown at MOMA, NYC, 4/13. IMDb directors should note that running time was clocked at 105 minutes.
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