Henri Chatelard is well in his forties, owns a restaurant and a cinema in the city, and appreciate women. When he meets Marie, a 18ish stronghead who just lost her father in a small ... See full summary »
Henri Chatelard is well in his forties, owns a restaurant and a cinema in the city, and appreciate women. When he meets Marie, a 18ish stronghead who just lost her father in a small fishermen village, it is not clear who is the hunter and who is the prey. Written by
Immediate background:"les enfants du paradis" (currently in the top 250)triumphantly reasserted Carne's genius in 1945;it was followed by "les portes de la nuit" which met mixed critical favor :hindsight has done this last great opus justice and it is now looked upon as one of Carné's major works.In 1947,the director began to work on "la fleur de l'age" -another collaboration with Prévert- with the glorious Arletty and the newcomer Anouk Aimée ,but it was never finished (and however there's a page on the IMDb!)and Prevert called it quits .
They say that he helped for "la Marie du port" but he is not credited .If he really did,these are his weakest lines ever.Weak lines for a weak screenplay (adapted from a Simenon book which must not be among his best either)...and a weak film .Coming after the absolute masterpiece of the French cinema ("les enfants du paradis")and such a magnificent if flawed work as "les portes de la nuit",it's more than a let down.A thin plot progresses with difficulty and the actors are not convincing:the rich forty-something (Gabin)is Gabin in the part of Gabin;the young leads (Nicole Courcel and Claude Romain) are totally bland :the critics complain that in "les portes de la nuit" Yves Montand and Nathalie Nattier were subpar too,but they had emotion ,enthusiasm -and Prévert 's lines going for them.
Marcel,with his dreams of the islands in the sun and the ships who sail away from this rotten world recalls a rehashed theme from "Quai des brumes" (1938)The viewer will find solace in Carné the movie buff:Gabin owns a cinema and we see excerpts from two movies "l'idiot" (Georges Lampin,1945) and chiefly Murnau's "tabu" .The latter might have fitted the film longing for something far away or something pure,had it been integrated to the plot (remember how,in "les enfants du paradis" ,the theater sequences prodigiously mixed with the main plot)
Carné pays another tribute to his colleague Jean Gremillon ,by displaying a poster of "pattes blanches " three of four times;Besides,"la Marie du port" sometimes resembles "pattes blanches" (1948)but cannot hold a candle to it.
With "la Marie du port" ,Carné enters the second part of his career which is the least interesting.Carné without Prevert is McCartney without Lennon in pop music.
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