Of all the Jean Gabin films TCM has aired in the last month or two, the actor is his cruelest and most deadly here. For once, I didn't care when he died.
This usually handsome devil sports a silly mustache for much of this sardonic film, making it even harder to see what prim, dowdy Madeleine Robinson sees in him. She knows he's a cop killer and bank robber but his alter-ego (a librarian) got her a job so she risks everything to return the favor by helping him to elude the police.
Madeleine seems in almost psychotic denial as she buys Ruffin shirts and makes him tea -- pretending she is the housewife she never got to be. (There are hints something traumatic in her background makes her revert to the victim role.)
Besides its peculiar if not sense-making characterizations, this movie has a few clever lines, and I enjoyed the chorus of "Chevaliers de la Table Ronde," though I couldn't figure out who was supposed to be singing this rousing drinking song.
The movie starts very slow and uninterestingly. Gabin fans will find it worthwhile to stick with this, but perhaps only barely.
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