(Review originally written at 2 October 2010)

Thing that this movie is best known and appreciated for is its unique way of storytelling. It's one of the very first movies that features a story that gets mostly told with flashbacks and it keeps switching back between past and present. This storytelling technique was later made more famous and popular by Orson Welles with his masterpiece "Citizen Kane".

But of course a movie requires a bit more than just some good storytelling, though it still remains a very important aspect. But this movie also has a great, quite simplistic movie, with still a lot happening in it, like only the French could make. It's a bit of a sweet love-story, that shows the events leading up to a fatal shooting. Some people will call this movie slow but hey, that was just the way movies were back in its days. But it's not like it's slow pace ever makes the movie a boring or dragging one, or at least not to me. It might had been the case if the movie had been a bit longer but with its running time around 90 minutes, it's simply a short movie to watch.

It's also one beautiful looking movie, that features some great cinematography and especially lighting. Shadows play in important part in the movie its visual look. Amazing thing about its cinematography is that the movie actually had 4 different cinematographers attached to it. No idea what the story is behind this but I guess that each used their own specialty for this movie, or some of them simply got fired or stepped up during production. Anyway, whatever was the case, it really didn't hurt the movie its visual look. Marcel Carné movies often were visually a real pleasure to watch and this movie forms no exception on this.

It's also a movie that quite heavily relies on its actors to tell its story and to deliver its great dialog, that got specially written by poet scenarist and songwriter Jacques Prévert. And this movie luckily had some great actors to work with. At the time Jean Gabin really was one of the best French actors. He really did his best work in the '30's and starred in some other classics such as "Pépé le Moko" and "La grande illusion" during the same decade.

Some great and unique storytelling equals a great and unique movie.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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