[NB: Plot spoiler alert]
From Hackney Library’s DVD collection Marcel Carné‘s stunning Le Quai des Brumes on DVD for free. Gabin is Gabin (therefore he dies); Michèle Morgan is a revelation and it’s hard to believe that she didn’t become a huge star. Beautifully shot, it’s as dark and claustrophobic as they come.
This is part of what Ryan Gilbey said about it last year on its reissue in The Guardian:
…Not that Le Quai des Brumes is simply the Jean Gabin show. The pulp poetry of Eugen Schüfftan‘s cinematography, and Alexandre Trauner‘s claustrophobia-inducing sets, which reproduce Le Havre in Paris’s Joinville Studios, provide a template for film noir. The poet Jacques Prévert‘s screenplay, his third for Carné, was adapted from Pierre Mac Orlan’s Montmartre-set 1927 novel, and bristles with a truthfulness that is occasionally terrifying, such as when Jean describes how it feels to kill: “You shoot and then a man screams and grabs hold of his belly, making a face like a kid who’s eaten too much.” All delivered by a dazed Gabin, cigarette twitching in the corner of mouth…
Have a look. It’s a tenner to buy or free to borrow from Hackney Library. I’ll be returning it on Tuesday.