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Gates of the Night (1946)

Les portes de la nuit (original title)
It's Paris in the winter after its liberation. A tramp who may also be Destiny predicts that Jean Diego will fall in love with a beautiful girl. That same evening, Jean meets Malou.


Marcel Carné


Jacques Prévert (ballet "Le rendez-vous"), Jacques Prévert (scenario and dialogue)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pierre Brasseur ... Georges
Serge Reggiani ... Guy Sénéchal
Yves Montand ... Jean Diego
Nathalie Nattier Nathalie Nattier ... Malou
Saturnin Fabre ... Monsieur Sénéchal
Raymond Bussières ... Raymond Lécuyer
Jean Vilar Jean Vilar ... Le clochard / La fortune
Sylvia Bataille ... Claire Lécuyer
Jane Marken ... Mme Germaine (as Jeanne Marken)
Dany Robin ... Étiennette
Gabrielle Fontan Gabrielle Fontan ... La vieille
Christian Simon Christian Simon ... Cricri Lécuyer
Jean Maxime Jean Maxime ... L'amoureux d'Étiennette
Fabien Loris Fabien Loris ... Le chanteur des rues
René Blancard ... Le voisin de palier


It's Paris in the winter after its liberation. A tramp who may also be Destiny predicts that Jean Diego will fall in love with a beautiful girl. That same evening, Jean meets Malou. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

15 March 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gates of the Night See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Edith Piaf personally - and persistently - lobbied Marcel Carné to choose her then-lover Yves Montand for the role of Jean Diego. See more »


Featured in Voyage à travers le cinéma français (2016) See more »


Les Enfants qui s'Aiment
Music by Joseph Kosma
Lyrics by Jacques Prévert
Performed by Fabien Loris
See more »

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User Reviews

In through the out door.
27 October 2004 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

"Les portes de la nuit" is an important movie ,weren't it only because it's Carné's last genuine unquestionable classic ,the last link on the chain which began with "Jenny" in 1936.All these works but one ("hotel du Nord, classic too anyway)" were written by Jacques Prevert :"drole de drame" "quai des brumes ""le jour se leve" "les visiteurs du soir " and the grandiose "les enfants du paradis" which currently makes the IMDb top 250 where it should be ,as it is in France, well ahead of "Leon" "Amelie" or "les quatre cents coups" if there were ,sometimes ,justice in the universe.

After "les enfants du paradis" -which was voted best French film of all time in a poll in 1979 -anything would ne a letdown.That's why the movie met mixed(and even chilly) critical reception when it was released.After the coming of the nouvelle vague whose young Turks used to hate "old hat" Carné ,one could have thought that "les portes de la nuit would be relegated to purgatory eternally.But young genrations have discovered it and a lot of people appreciate it now (as the IMDb rating shows).Carne's eternal subject :love ,true love against the b.......s ,is here given just one night;one night to meet the most beautiful woman in the world ,but also one night to meet the war profiteers,the cowards ,the vile fathers,all that war destroyed .Carné's "realisme" is given a rough ride anyway ,for some settings are almost ...surrealist,evoking Greek tragedy .Prevert/Kosma's words to "les feuilles mortes" are wistful and deeply moving ;"la vie sépare ceux qui s'aiment tout doucement sans faire de bruit"(life comes between lovers ,gently,without a sound)

"Les portes de la nuit" ,what a wonderful title.the film begins at dusk,in a metro station that was entirely built in the studio.Carne thoroughly dismissed the label "realisme poetique" because none of his film sets was real (the "hotel du nord" ,the chateau in "les visiteurs du soir" ,the boulevard du crime" in "les enfants du paradis,the list is endless).And the movie ends at dawn ,when Paris awakes.

Carné would never achieve such a peak again.He made commendable works afterward ("Therese Raquin" "les tricheurs" )but those works do not "add up".Still,he remains through his 1936-1945 heyday,one of the absolute masters of the French cinema.

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