Charlie Kohler is a piano player in a bar. The waitress Lena is in love with him. One of Charlie's brother, Chico, a crook, takes refuge in the bar because he is chased by two gangsters, ... See full summary »
Abel Davis is a criminal, hunted in Italy. The police are closing in, so he and his pal Raymond arrange to flee back to France with Abel's wife, Thérèse, and their two young sons. Abel and ... See full summary »
Life's a rotten business, says Jean, a deserter who arrives at night in Le Havre, looking to leave the country. He lucks into civilian clothes, a little bit of money, a passport, and a dog, and he also meets Nelly, a 17-year-old who's grown up too fast. She's the object of lust of men: including a boyfriend Maurice, her putative protector Zabel, and Lucien, a local hood. Jean falls for her, faces down Lucien, and gives her courage to stand on her own feet. A ship is leaving for Venezuela; can at least one of them be on it, or is that just a dream? Written by
I've just seen Port of Shadows for the first time in my life, and I must say I really liked it. I'm already a great admirer of old black & white pictures, and I enjoyed The Great Illusion as well. This one is rather different from Illusion, though from the same era and also with Jean Gabin as the quintessential Frenchman. It's hauntingly sad, quietly emotional, and even if it's a bit dated in some places (the pathetic hood played by Brasseur) it still manages to creep up on you and leaves you absorbed with the motifs of human loneliness and the not unreasonable, but ultimately impossible human dream of happiness. So it's not a laugh-riot, and you don't leave the cinema with a happy feeling, but you do feel good about having seen it. It's a masterpiece in French cinema history, Jean Gabin is ideal as the tough-as-butter soldier with a doomed soft spot for Michéle Morgan's beautiful waif, and in the end all you remember is the quiet mists of Le Havre harbor, and the sense of ill-fate and lost chances. Not to mention the beautiful eyes of a very young Morgan!
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