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I write these few lines mainly for the Gabin buffs who might happen to take a look at this page.
"Le Cas ..." doesn't belong to cinema.Not even formally.It is not bad cinema;it is non-cinema.It was intended as a piece of sanitary education for the less instructed people,a didactic show.Did it serve its purposes?I do not know.
By its premises,which are very stupid,though well-meant,"Dr. Laurent" is completely outside the cinema.It intends to be a piece of educative footage,promoting some theories about birth.(These theories are partly bad,partly SF,partly vague.We hear a mother laughing while she gives birth,as the pain of the birth is absent.)Sanitary education.So,the movie's intentions are completely outside the aesthetics.Still,Gabin is amazingly pleasant to watch performing a brave (from a medical point of view) physician.Yes,Gabin does his job OK.He looks good and is quite interesting.I have seen him more banal than here.Gabin is somehow fun to watch in this movie.Almost a certain kind of fresh soothing kindness.(Usually,Gabin does not look as a kind person.)
"Dr. Laurent"'s dialogs are an awkward mix of imbecile lines and quite funny and humorous,though trivial and gross,ones.Some of them made me laugh.The film promises,for a while,to be almost sympathetic,though in a campy way.
On a strictly technical level,I have seen Gabin movies far worse directed.This one is well paced.I also liked some frames:a street in the night,the new house where Gabin settles.The cinematography is not bad,either.But the movie's content is so ridiculous,and so stupefyingly bad written,that even my mother,a huge Gabin fan,and able to enjoy almost any Gabin movie,could not make her way through "Dr. Laurent"'s end.(Notice that my mother enjoyed a lot flawed movies like "Des Gens Sans ..." and "Gas-Oil"!)Unfortunately,after a while the movie falls apart completely,collapses,and does not work not even as an usual Gabin flick from the 50s.This is VERY displeasing.In many ways,this film resembles the Bolshevik propaganda movies of the worst kind."Dr. Laurent" was written and conceived by idiots,but made by people who really knew their job.Finally,the "substance" prevails upon the "style".I hope that,at least,"Dr. Laurent" was useful in the way it tried to be.Is it useful also for the Gabin buffs?This question must remain open.Gabin performs well,as well as possible,in this gruffly bad movie.(In fact,Gabin did a seemingly endless string of hideously bad movies,as he was constantly avoided by almost all the great directors post-WW 2.97 movies,and so much junk!Anyway,as Dr. Laurent,Gabin does NOT make a fool of himself.)
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