Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Le quai des brumes (1938)

With every sunrise we think something new is going to happen, something fresh. Then the sun goes to bed, and so do we. ~ Nelly 

From director Marcel Carné, it's a story of a deserter who almost finds a haven, then all goes wrong.

The film starts slow, until the conflicts begin. Jean (Jean Gabin), a deserter, gets a lift from a truck-driver to Le Havre. He meets a sort of tramp (and a dog who follows Jean everywhere since), who leads him to a place belongs to a guy called Panama, who kindly gives Jean a place to rest and food to eat. In this place, Jean meets a beautiful girl, Nelly (Michèle Morgan), and falls in love with her. Nelly is an orphan who lives with her godfather Zabel (Michel Simon), a souvenir shop owner. A local thug, Lucien (Pierre Brasseur), courts her, but Nelly is looking for her missing lover, Maurice. In this mess, Jean arrives. He has been lucky so far: finding a new identity and gets a ship ticket to Venezuela; but his love for Nelly takes him back to the shop to say goodbye to her for the last time - in time to save her from Zabel, who has killed Maurice - and as he leaves her for the ship, Lucien, whom he has been humiliated twice, shoots him from behind.

I watched this on TV and the sound was bad. Michel Simon's voice was croaked and I agreed when Jean Gabin said to him after Zabel asked Jean to kill Lucien: 'Your voice is nasty. It sounds like walking in muck with old sandals.'

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