at last this rare adventure movie directed by Pierre Chenal
As a film noir fan, I always loved the movies directed by Pierre Chenal, who started as a director in early thirties and quickly got friend with the best people in movie business like Erich von Stroheim, Jean Mitry or Henri Calef. Pierre Chenal worked hard to direct unusual and dark movies, like Le Dernier Tournant (the first version of The Postman Always Rings Twice in 1939) and La Foire Aux Chimères (with Erich von Stroheim), his masterpiece (still not available on DVD).
In 1935, Pierre Chenal wanted to realize an adventure movie and he chose a Jack London title he read as a kid, Les Mutinés de l'Elseneur, "full of sound and fury". He needed a four mast boat which was hard to find, he managed to direct with sunny or stormy weather which was often hard for the movie team. Shooting an adventure movie on a real giant boat instead of shooting in studio was a real adventure. They took a lot of risks but the result is great, the photography is stunning (it is the first effort of the great Christian Matras). And there is Robert Le Vigan in one of his best performance.
Those interested in Pierre Chenal's movies should read the book "Pierre Chenal" compiled mainly by Pierrette Matalon, Pierre Chenal offers us a lot of souvenirs told in humorous way. He didn't get the reputation of Julien Duvivier ans is still forgotten or not appreciated today but he was surely talented and a real gentleman. His work was admired by other directors like Joseph von Sternberg and Orson Welles.
We're still waiting for the release of his American and Argentinean films noirs : "The Native Son", "Todo Un Hombre", "Of Missing Persons Bureau".
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