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Mrs. Moreau does,on her own,a lot to save this movie.(I like her more than ever.)Gabin does nothing.As a result,"Gas-Oil" is Mrs. Moreau's show,and not Gabin's.
Mrs. Moreau is one of the two best French movie artists.The other one may be Mrs. Signoret.So,two women are the two greatest French movie stars ever!
For an opposite case,check Mrs. Girardot's ridiculous,abominable acting in "Une robe ...".That's what a bad script can do out of an actress.
In fact,Gabin does nothing for the role,and much less for this movie;he does not help the movie,he does not assist it,he does not try to take it over or control it.Gabin was one of the most underused and undervalued actors."Gas ..." is another sample of underusing Gabin;Delon had a similar fate,he was constantly underused.
We sure get a lot of Gabin in this movie;but not a very good one,alas!He looks unsolicited,he does not seem to observe the misery of the movie.I think Gabin was a very selfish man and that he cared only about himself,in a very obtuse and rudimentary way.(If he would have done more for the movie as a whole,he would have done a lot more for his screen presence,also;but he doesn't seem to have thought this way!)
Gabin looks apathetic,limited,indifferent,and has a very self-satisfied,complacent,selfish,rude air.Vain and gross.
Mastroianni,who was a giant actor,NEVER indulged in self-complacent apathy and self-satisfaction.Mastroianni was always thinking about the movie,not about himself.Mastroianni was interested in constructing,in composing the movie as a whole.He was completely transitive and selfless,altruist;look at Kitano,at O'Toole,at Stamp:they are acting along this line,too:the selflessness.That is what makes them so great.
"Gas-Oil"'s script is silly,campy.Gabin seems to never have hesitated accepting these stupid scripts ("Gas-Oil","Des Gens ...",etc.,etc.,etc.!).It looks like he was endlessly mocking himself.
The same year,1955,Gabin made another six movies.With 7 movies,'55 is maybe Gabin's busiest year.(In '58,"only" 5 Gabin movies were released.'68 will be his final year with more than two movies released.)
I guess "Gas ..." is supposed to be a thriller.It is not.This also means that Gabin did not know how to make an adventure flick ,how to entertain the public when no script and no real director were available.
"Gas ..." is not a bad movie."Une robe "('81) is,indeed,a very bad movie;but "Gas ..." is not that bad.It addresses to an execrable taste.It lacks intelligence,resourcefulness,pace,ideas,creativity,originality.It stinks of suburb,promiscuity,coarseness,stupidity."Popular" cinema at its worst.Gabin's real fans chew rather well this stuff.It is a low-budget movie from the '50s,saved by Mrs. Moreau.Unfortunately,"Gas ..." targets the proletarians,the slum.
This film is badly written,but Mrs. Moreau gives it some dignity,some decency.She manages to give her own role density and charm."Gas-Oil" is important only as a Mrs. Moreau movie.I have watched it,and enjoyed it,as a Mrs. Moreau film.
I love writing about Mrs. Moreau.
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