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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)




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
Learn more

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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

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Did You Know?


The roles of Jean Diego and Malou were originally to be played by then-lovers Jean Gabin and Marlene Dietrich, who had recently returned to France after the end of the war. Dietrich pulled out of the project at the last minute, however, and Gabin followed her. With the rest of the cast already selected and production scheduled to begin soon, Carné and Prévert had to choose an unknown actor for the role of Jean Diego, a singer/performer who had recently had some success in the French Music Halls - Yves Montand. See more »


Featured in My Journey Through French Cinema (2016) See more »


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

User Reviews

Don't be too quick to give this the gate
24 October 2003 | by writers_reignSee all my reviews

Usually I don't comment on previous comments however misguided or uninformed they may be but in this case I must refer to the only other comment that has been posted if only to explain to our Canadian correspondent the difference between an individual song heard within a movie and a movie 'score'. The score of a given film embraces every note of background music from beginning to end credits and whilst on occasion (In 'Breakfast At Tiffany's' for example composer Hank Mancini wrote an individual song, 'Moon River', with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, which Audrey Hepburn sang at one point) an individual song may be highlighted it is erroneous to refer to that song as the 'score' of the film (to continue with the BAT illustration, Mancini's background score was, at times, lilting and some time later a second single song, 'Lovers In New York' was published, using Mancini's background music). Whilst it is true that scriptwriter Jacques Prevert's poem, Les Feuilles Mortes, set to music most memorably by long-time collaborator Joseph Kosma, IS heard (though not to completion) in the film it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a 'score'. As it happens a second Prevert poem, Les Enfants qui s'aiment (Children Who Love) is also heard in snatches in this great movie though ironically neither is sung by Yves Montand, who went on to 'own' Les Feuilles Mortes and also recorded Les Enfants qui s'aiment unforgettably on his 'Montand Chante Prevert' album. But what of the movie itself. It started with one strike on it; Jean Gabin and Marlene Dietrich, for whom the two leading roles had been tailored by Prevert, ankled shortly before shooting commenced so Carne tapped the inexperienced (in acting) Montand and the justifiably soon forgetten Nathalie Nattier as deps. As if that weren't enough the film was packaged as the most expensive ever made in France so expectations were high. We now have to consider the climate against which it was shot and made. We're talking 1946, lots of uneasiness in the air concerning collaboration, black marketeering, etc. Prevert gives us a fantasy - Montand meets a bum on the Metro who claims he is Destiny personified and predicts that Montand will meet later that same day the most beautiful woman in the world but after one mayfly moment he will lose her again - but a fantasy laced with the realism of black marketeering, post-war austerity, hints of collaboration. It was, arguably, the wrong theme at the wrong time and the egg it laid was such that it broke up the partnership of Prevert-Carne (who had just come off 'Les Enfants du Paradis') who had invented the concept of poetic realism and given the world such gems as Le jour se leve, Quai des brumes, les visiteurs du soir, etc. Seen today it is much easier to concentrate on its strenghs and delight in the first fledgling steps towards 'Great Actor' status taken by Yves Montand. In sum: a gem. ten stars, no question.

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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 »

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