This was the last movie that Jean Gabin and Arletty made together for Carné, the absence of Jacques Prévert as screenwriter (as he was on Le Jour Se lève) shows, the plot is rather confused and indecisive. Nevertheless, the photography on location in 1950s Paris is beautiful, many shots look like Brassai photographs, and the climactic scene in the seedy local boxing-ring has some of the same atmosphere as the great scenes in the popular theatre in Carné's masterpiece, "Les Enfants du Paradis". Arletty, by then over 50, is experimenting with playing a less glamorous, rather frumpy part, but she is still fascinating to watch. The thrill is in the ambiguous relationship between Gabin, as the ageing boxing coach, and his blond, sometimes hysterical protégé. There is an extraordinary scene in which he goes to get him back, when the boy has run away and is living in a run-down Algerian hostel. It isn't a great film, on the level of Hotel du nord or Les Portes de La Nuit, but it is well worth seeing for anyone curious about the French cinema in the period between the Occupation and the beginning of the Nouvelle Vague. It is available on video in France.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?