Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Revisit: Port of Shadows

A Janus Films release 1938

Directed by Marcel Carné

Written by:
Pierre Dumarchais (novel)
Jacques Prévert (screenplay)

A military deserter (Jean Gabin) finds love and trouble in a smoky French port city.

A truly beautiful film that follows the classic Hollywood template, Carné's Port of Shadows is the kind of movie where all of the elements culminate into a near-perfect package. The air-tight script is chock full of fantastic dialogue and well-rounded characters, aided by the incredible cast, which includes Jean Gabin, Michel Simon, and Michele Morgan. Even minor characters are surprisingly well developed. Likewise, there isn't a shot in the film that feels out of place or sloppy; everything is essential. The lighting, grain, and over-all look of the film is quite stunning and especially effective in telling the story. It's interesting to note that this film is pre-WWII, as much of the script feels like an allusion to the war. A must see.

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