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 ... See full summary »
A wanted gangster is both king and prisoner of the Casbah. He is protected from arrest by his friends, but is torn by his desire for freedom outside. A visiting Parisian beauty may just tempt his fate.
During the first World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from.
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.
A French farce set in Victorian London where a botanist and his wife get into trouble when they pretend to go missing in order to hide from their sanctimonious cousin -- an Anglican bishop who is leading a campaign against such writing.
At the end of the 15th century, two minstrels Gilles and Dominique come from nowhere into the castle of Baron Hugues. Gilles charms Anne, Hughes' daughter, while Dominique charms both ... See full summary »
It's Paris in the winter after its liberation. A tramp, pretending to be Destiny, predicts that Jean Diego will fall in love with a beautiful girl. The same evening, Jean meets Malou. Not ... 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
Some may notice that the Le Havre setting, while realistic, seems to have a slightly strange perspective. This is because the streets were constructed with a "false perspective" technique: the buildings were gradually scaled down in size the farther they go into the background; when shot with the proper camera lens, such a street will seem to stretch away from the camera up to four times longer than it actually does. See more »
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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