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Le Jour se Leve (1939)
"Le jour se lève" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  29 July 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,338 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 31 critic

After committing a murder, a man locks himself in his apartment and recollects the events the led him to the killing.



(original scenario), (dialogue)
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Complete credited cast:
Jules Berry ...
M. Valentin
Mady Berry ...
La concierge
René Génin ...
Le concierge (as Genin)
Arthur Devère ...
Mr. Gerbois (as Arthur Devere)
René Bergeron ...
Le patron du café (as Bergeron)
Marcel Pérès ...
Paulo (as Peres)
Germaine Lix ...
La chanteuse
Gabrielle Fontan ...
La vieille dame dans l'escalier
Jacques Baumer ...
Le commissaire


Francois, a sympathetic factory worker, kills Valentin with a gun. He locked himself in his furnished room and starts remembering how he was led to murder. He met once Francoise, a young fleurist, and they fell in love. But Francoise was gotten round by Valentin, a dog trainer, a machiavellian guy... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 July 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Daybreak  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,982 (USA) (21 November 2014)


$34,570 (USA) (9 January 2015)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Janus print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Wide Range Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film was released in June 1939, only a year before France's surrender to the Nazis, who subsequently occupied the country. Although this film has no overt political content, according to film scholar Roy Armes, the scene in which the crowd on the street below expresses solidarity with the trapped François - which he rejects, shouting that he only wants to be left alone - reflected the political despair of the period, "a chilling epilogue to a brief period which had opened with the enthusiasms aroused by the Popular Front." [French Cinema, Oxford University Press, 1985, p. 102] In validation of this view, the government of Vichy (unoccupied France) shortly afterwards banned the film as "demoralizing," as if it had been partly responsible for France's defeat. See more »


M. Valentin: You're the type women fall in love with . . . I'm the type that interests them.
See more »


Referenced in Un compositeur pour le cinéma: Maurice Jaubert (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

What is it about French films that makes them so special?
3 April 2009 | by (Portugal) – See all my reviews

There is something so lyrical about the tale of the doomed François portrayed by the great Jean Gabin that even in its hardest luck moments you feel you are watching poetry in motion.

In addition, Le Jour se Leve is a character study with all the contradictions that tend to go with pained souls like François' - except that there is a further depth that renders the film quite universal, a depth made of little moments in human relationships and the flaws that gently emerge but only renders the humans involved more endearing.

Still, all that glitters is not gold: the apparently pure Françoise has actually been bedded by M. Valentin (Berry); and the police are more interested in getting their man than in saving him.

The direction is precise and inspired, resorting to the then much used flashback technique but never allowing it to dominate the film.

The photography - well, it is gorgeous and it gives the film its expressionistic ambiance. Finally, Gabin - one of the greatest actors ever in one of his greatest roles. Need one say more?

The ending can be predicted from the moment François kills a visitor in his apartment but that aside it is a film full of cinematographic treasures, acting to gape at, and a quality of direction that is seldom seen these days. A must see for anyone who cares about movies.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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