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Pépé le Moko is a gangster from Paris that hides in Algier's Casbah. In the Casbah, he is safe and is able to elude the police's attempts to capture him. But he misses his freedom, after two years in the Casbah. He meets a gorgeous Parisian tourist, Gaby, and they fall in love. Native inspector Slimane tries to use her to attract Pépé out of the Casbah in order to catch him.Written by
In a scene after Pierrot's death, Pepe is getting progressively drunker and his suit coat opens to reveal more of his shirt. His shirt has the monogram of "JG" on the pocket; clearly the monogram of the actor (Jean Gabin) and not the character. See more »
"Everyone in the world has two fatherlands: his own and Paris".
"Pepe Le Moko" (1937) directed by Julien Duvivier - is a wonderful movie with the great performance from very young Jean Gabin. It just happened that I've seen several movies with him in the older age where he is serious, not very talkative man with the head full of grey hair and I like him in the later movies, too but it was so much fun to see him as Pepe - young, charming, dangerous, smart, brutal, irresistible, and so much in love with Paris that he'd lost forever. As much as I enjoyed the film as an early noir and crime, I think it is about the longing for home, about the nostalgia and as such it is even more interesting, deeper, poignant that just a noir. The celebrated film director Max Ophüls, who knew a lot about nostalgia and immigration said about Paris,
"It offered the shining wet boulevards under the street lights, breakfast in Monmartre with cognac in your glass, coffee and lukewarm brioche, gigolos and prostitutes at night. Everyone in the world has two fatherlands: his own and Paris."
I could not help thinking of his words when I watched the film. There is one scene that almost reduced me to tears - a middle-aged former chanteuse plays one of her records on a gramophone and sings along with her voice that has not changed at all even if she looks nothing like the picture on the wall from the days of her youth. The time may play very nasty jokes with a woman - she may get fat or skinny, lose her teeth and hair but her voice will stay as strong or tender, ringing or melodious as it was in the long gone days that stay forever in her memory. She sings about Paris and there are tears on her eyes and the scene simply can't leave any viewer indifferent. There is another scene - between Pepe and Gaby the girl from Paris with whom Pepe falls in love (Mireille Balin). They talk about Paris remembering different places which are dear to both of them, and in the end, they both named La Place Blanche where they both belong and not in Algiers's Casbah where Pepe is safe and he rules the world of criminals but can't forget the sound of Metro in Paris. When Pepe wants to tell Gaby that he loves her, he tells her that she reminds him of Metro in Paris...
I have not even mentioned how masterfully the film was shot by Julien Duvivier and how well it was acted, how fast it movies, and there are so many wonderful scenes that I have not mentioned...Great, great movie.
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