PORT of SHADOWS (1938)
PORT OF SHADOWS (Le Quai des Brumes) (1938) is one of the truly great classics of French cinema. Directed by Marcel Carne and written by Jacques Prevert (both of whom would later collaborate on CHILDREN OF PARADISE) the film was an early influence on what was to soon become "film noir". The incomparable Jean Gabin (PEPE LE MOKO, GRAND ILLUSION) stars as a world-weary soldier-deserter seeking passage. Shortly after being befriended by a stray dog, his wanderings find him in a port town where a chance-encounter with a kindly drunk leads him to an isolated bar on the outskirts - a place which clearly offers sanctuary to lost souls such as him. There he meets a sad and troubled young girl (Michele Morgan) and becomes entangled in her woes which involve her enigmatic guardian (Michel Simon) and a hotheaded gangster (Pierre Brasseur). It soon becomes painfully clear to both of them that they are in love, but their respective dilemmas - now intertwined - have them on a collision course with fate. At times both haunting and poetic, (with low-key photography and melancholy scoring to match) this is a masterful film which is hard to shake once experienced and will likely stay with you for a lifetime. In French with English subtitles.
Jean Gabin, Michele Morgan, Michel Simon, Pierre Brasseur