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Monday, January 26, 2009

PORT OF SHADOWS/LE QUAI DES BRUMES (1938)

Everyone talks a poetic blue streak in this famously fatalistic collaboration between writer Jacques Prévert & helmer Marcel Carné. Jean Gabin stars as a man on the run from the law who would rather see his love one more time than make his getaway by sea. Wait! Wasn’t that PÉPÉ LE MOKO/’37? A bit of a flip-flop, actually, but PÉPÉ holds up better than SHADOWS, as do a host of Gabin pics from the same period. Still, there’s a tasty cast of French ‘types’ to enjoy, Michèle Morgan is heavenly and the great Michel Simon can make your flesh crawl, plus the astounding look of the film thanks to the legendary designer Alexander Trauner. Prévert & Carné would be back soon enough with DAYBREAK and CHILDREN OF PARADISE to brag about, and, in its own happily derivative way, this one’s most watchable, too.

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