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Port of Shadows (1938)
"Le quai des brumes" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  29 October 1939 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 5,607 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 43 critic

A military deserter finds love and trouble (and a small dog) in a smoky French port city.

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(novel) (as Pierre Mac Orlan) , (scenario and dialogue)
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Title: Port of Shadows (1938)

Port of Shadows (1938) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Édouard Delmont ...
Panama (as Delmont)
Raymond Aimos ...
Quart Vittel (as Aimos)
Robert Le Vigan ...
Le peintre (as Le Vigan)
René Génin ...
Le docteur (as Genin)
Marcel Pérès ...
Le chauffeur (as Perez)
Jenny Burnay ...
L'amie de Lucien
Roger Legris ...
Le garçon d'hôtel (as Legris)
Martial Rèbe ...
Le client
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...Jean...fugitive...stumbling into love and one last desperate adventure...for a girl he had not even known the night before... See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Port of Shadows  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,641 (USA) (16 November 2012)

Gross:

$26,765 (USA) (8 February 2013)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Jean: Ever see a woman in love with a soldier? She loves him when he parades in step with the music. But when he shows up alone, you should see the look on her face! I don't even know why I'm tellin' ya' this. A man and a woman can't get along. They don't talk the same. They don't use the same vocabulary.
Nelly: Maybe so, but they can love each other.
Jean: Oh? Have you ever loved someone?
Nelly: Not really.
Jean: So?
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Post-War Cinema (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Like Being Punched Really Hard in the Gut
9 February 2001 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

I took a class in French Poetic Realism and Italian Neorealism this past Fall in which I saw many of the best films I will ever see. The third film we watched in the class was Jean Vigo's L'Atalante, which is just about the most gorgeous experience in film viewing I have ever experienced. I left the building in a cloud of euphoria, and I have never stopped thinking about it. One week later, we watched Le Quai des Brumes (Port of Shadows). It affected me greatly in the opposite direction of L'Atalante. It made me lonely and grief-stricken. That is in no way a criticism; for the most part, any film that transforms my emotions, whether for the better or the worse, is a great film.

Le Quai des brumes is about a man played by the great Jean Gabin (the star of La Grande Illusion) who has deserted the army (a fact that is never mentioned specifically, since the French censors refused to let the filmmakers portray such an immoral deed). Everyone who he finds around him is morally corrupt. He finally befriends a dog, the most loyal of all animals, and then Nelly, a young woman who is being torn apart by her gangster suitor, Lucien, and her foster-father Zabel (played by L'Atalante's own Michel Simon).

The whole film falls into unavoidable and quite grueling violence. It is so depressing that the French director Jean Renoir (of La Grande Illusion and Rules of the Game) accused it of being Fascist. Those who know the film know this quotation, and have pondered it for the longest time. It does make perfect sense however. Hope leaves quickly after it is seen, and it is hard to get rid of. It fascistically knocks you down. 10/10


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