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(Review originally written at 17 September 2008)

The term film-noir didn't got handled until the '40's but this term would also really apply to this movie. It features all of the film-noir ingredients with its story as well as its atmosphere.


The movie isn't as smooth or expensive and good looking as an American movie but otherwise there is not much wrong with it. It features a typical crime story in which a Parisian gangster hides in Algeria. Combined with this get the usual factors such as romance and a tough main character, who of course also shows his humane side. It has a solid story that is typical for the genre and therefore for the regular genre viewer won't feature many surprises in it but it's for them also nice and interesting to see how this typical film-noir ingredients all got handled in a '30's, before the film-noir got even really truly invented.


But because the movie isn't American this of course also means that this movie is a 'different' one to watch. It features often some more interesting camera-angles and style of editing. It makes some of the sequences really great to look at. It also has a good and pleasant pace and is skillfully being directed by Julien Duvivier.


It's also a movie that got greatly carried by its principal actor Jean Gabin. He plays his character in the right way for the movie. He's a criminal but you still like him. It's a great character played by a great actor. Not all of the supporting actors are just as good however and act in a more typical kind of '30's over-the-top acting style, though the movie does feature some more great characters.


The movie got for some part shot in Algeria itself but some sequence are also sometimes painfully obvious studio-work. It's the foremost reason why the movie at times has a sort of cheap and less smooth look over it. The movie did became a success though and even managed to get an American release. This success inspired Hollywood to make one year later an American remake of this movie, called "Algiers", starring French born actor Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr.


A real fine late '30's French crime drama, which really can be seen as an early film-noir.


9/10


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About Frank Veenstra

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