6.7/10
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53 user 16 critic

Algiers (1938)

Passed | | Drama, Mystery, Romance | 5 August 1938 (USA)
Beautiful Gaby meets a romantic jewel thief in the mysterious Casbah.

Director:

John Cromwell

Writers:

John Howard Lawson (screenplay), James M. Cain (additional dialogue) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Boyer ... Pepe le Moko
Sigrid Gurie ... Ines
Hedy Lamarr ... Gaby
Joseph Calleia ... Slimane
Alan Hale ... Grandpere
Gene Lockhart ... Regis
Walter Kingsford ... Louvain
Paul Harvey ... Janvier
Stanley Fields ... Carlos
Johnny Downs ... Pierrot
Charles D. Brown Charles D. Brown ... Max
Robert Greig ... Andre Giraux
Leonid Kinskey ... L'Arbi
Joan Woodbury ... Aicha
Nina Koshetz Nina Koshetz ... Tania (as Mme. Nina Koshetz)
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Storyline

Pepe Le Moko, a thief who escaped from France with a fortune in jewels, has for two years lived in, and virtually ruled, the mazelike, impenetrable Casbah, "native quarter" of Algiers. A French official insists that he be captured, but sly Inspector Slimane knows he need only bide his time. The suave Pepe increasingly regards his stronghold as also his prison, especially when he meets beautiful Parisian visitor Gaby, who reminds him of the boulevards to which he dare not return...and arouses the mad jealousy of Ines, his Algerian mistress. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You've Got A Date With Danger, A Rendezvous With Romance In The Glamorous, Mysterious Algiers . . Make A Date Now !

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60-minute radio adaptation of the movie on July 7, 1941 with Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr reprising their film roles. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Commissioner Janvier: I'm not interested in hearing excuses about local conditions. No doubt there are local conditions. Here's a criminal who's exploits have made him notorious throughout Europe. He escaped from France with a fortune in jewels and for two years he's been living here in Algiers, within a stone's throw of your headquarters.
Louvain: As you say, Commissioner.
Commissioner Janvier: I'm here to settle this - and I want it done quickly.
Louvain: We've been trying to settle the case of Pepe le Moko for two years.
Commissioner Janvier: In Paris, we handle ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

When complete cast credits are listed at the start of a movie and at the end, there are usually no changes. In this movie, the end credits reverse the order of the last two credits: Bert Roach follows Ben Hall. See more »

Alternate Versions

Some prints have a different opening credits sequence, in which the credits are shown against a black background. See more »

Connections

Referenced in What's Cookin' Doc? (1944) See more »

Soundtracks

C'est la vie
(1938) (uncredited)
Music by Vincent Scotto
Lyrics by Ann Ronell
Performed by Charles Boyer
See more »

User Reviews

 
Wonderful performances by Lamarr and Boyer
27 April 2009 | by lewis-51See all my reviews

This is a great movie well worth watching. The interaction between the leads, Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr, is nothing short of beautiful.

Other people have described the plot, the setting, and the great photography, so I will skip that. Some have written here that Algiers compares well to "Casablanca." I can't agree with that. This movie doesn't have the heroism, the larger than life situation, the love triangle. For that reason, I can't rate it more than 8 (while I rate Casablanca a 10+).

As has also been noted here, Algiers is a remake of the French movie "Pepe Le Moko". I have not seen that movie. I'm sure I will someday. Some people have written that the French movie is better, and that the lead actor there, Gabin, is more believable as a gangster. That may well be true; I will not argue it. It doesn't matter. Boyer is excellent here. His personna is completely believable to me, and, frankly, I don't much care how closely he matches authentic French gangsters. No wonder so may female movie fans fell in love with him!

The movie is made even more appealing by the secondary characters. Gene Lockart's informer is well acted. Joseph Calleia does a great job as the "native" detective who has easy access to the Casbah. Sigrid Gurie is great as the jealous courtesan. Alan Hale Sr. is great as the witty erudite criminal. The rough fellow who always says "OK" was fun. I also enjoyed the slim bodyguard dressed in white who never said anything; not sure which actor this is.

If there is a flaw, it is maybe an overall dearth of intensity. Maybe this is a question of evolving movie-making style, a difference of eras. I think we expect criminals these days to show a lot of anger, to hear a lot of nasty snarling dialogue. You aren't going to hear that in this movie.

And frankly I don't care because this is not a crime drama, it's a tragic love story. Which brings us to the main reason to see this movie. Hedy Lamarr.

What can I say? "Wow" is hardly sufficient. "Holy @#!&%" doesn't help much. Of all the beautiful actresses there have been, of all the kinds of beauty -- cute, girl-next-door, classic, sultry, innocent, exotic, hot, mysterious, haughty, bombshell, va-va-voom, ethereal -- Hedy Lamarr had the best. No she didn't have the sexiest body; she was actually a little thin. She wasn't the oh-so-appealing cute type like Meg Ryan, or the sexy bombshell like Marilyn Monroe, or the exotic Greta Garbo. This is pure human female beauty. And it's not just some portrait or statue. She speaks, she smiles, she moves. There are at least three scenes of conversations with Charles Boyer that I just can't watch often enough. By direction or not, she slightly underacts. It's been said that she really wasn't that good at acting. Could be; again, who cares? She communicates plenty to me.

So applaud it for the plot, the photography, the great secondary characters, the wonderful Charles Boyer. And drink a toast to Hedy Lamarr.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 August 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Algiers See more »

Filming Locations:

Algiers, Algeria See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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