Port of Shadows

1938 [FRENCH]

Crime / Drama / Romance / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh96%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright91%
IMDb Rating7.7109259


Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Michèle Morgan Photo
Michèle Morgan as Nelly
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
848.58 MB
French 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 32 min
P/S 0 / 14
1.54 GB
French 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 32 min
P/S 5 / 18

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by dbdumonteil10 / 10

If we have lost the war.....

...blame it on the "Quai des Brumes" !Both the right wing and the leftist reviews were chilly ,calling the movie " morbid" .Military censorship quickly banned "Le Jour se Lève" which was,if it were possible,even more depressing -and in my opinion even better,though at such a stratospheric level of art,this is minor quibble.

"You do not blame a barometer which forecasts the storm" was Carné's famous answer.

"Quai des Brumes" belongs to the legend of the French cinema.In a poll made around 1980,it was 8th best French film of all time (the number one,another Carné's masterpiece " Les Enfants Du Paradis" was a safe ,predictable choice ).More than the detective plot (there are many deaths in this film) ,the atmosphere of this misty harbor,with its ships about to sail away for these islands in the sun you'll never know ,is all that counts.It was the triumph of the Réalisme Poétique ,a label Carné himself did not like : these stories were poetic but they were not that much realistic,for they were filmed in studios ;masterpieces of cinema de studio of these golden years ,when the French were the best in the world : the harbor is unforgettable,as are the Canal Saint-Martin in "Hotel Du Nord" ,the metro station in "les Portes de la Nuit" or Le Boulevard Du Crime" in "Les Enfants Du Paradis".

After an odd effort -which is today considered ahead of its time- " Drôle De Drame" , " Quai Des Brumes" is actually the follow-up to "Jenny" (1936).The gallery of sinister-looking persons was already present in Carné's first movie,and Françoise Rosay's last lines indicated that the relatively optimistic ending would mute .

"Quai Des BRumes" leaves no hope to the viewer .This harbor which should mean freedom,escape is actually a blind alley ;nobody can escape.When Gabin appears in his shabby uniform and the gorgeous Michele Morgan in her raincoat and wearing her famous beret ,we know that their fate is already sealed.All the b.... around cannot understand true love .This is Carné's favorite subject: Michel Simon and Michèle Morgan are the prototype of the director's odd couple :see also Jules Berry and Jacqueline Laurent in "Le Jour Se Lève" or Pierre Brasseur and Nathalie Nattier in "Les Portes De La Nuit".

Extraordinary scenes: Michel Simon,playing loud classical music which becomes "exotic" in such a rotten world.The same ,crying his heart out for love which he has never known "Nobody loves me!" ;Nelly and Jean on the harbor,exchanging Prevert's haunting lines " Every time the sun rises ,we hope something fresh will be born,but when it goes down,it the same old gloomy world" "The bottom of the sea is full of rubbish" ;the opening scenes ,with this truck running through a foggy country .

All the endings of Carné's movies of that era are mind-boggling:from the sun rising as the tragedy is complete ("Le Jour Se Lève") to the still beating hearts ("Les Visiteurs Du Soir"),from Baptiste lost in the crowd ("Les Enfants Du Paradis" ) to the stunning editing which concludes "Quai Des Brumes" : Jean,Nelly,the ship,the dog ,all this ,more than the other endings had a strong influence on more movies I can think of: Yves Allegret 's "Dédée D'Anvers ",Carol Reed's "Odd man out" -also influenced by Duvivier 's 'Pepe le Moko" are two prominent examples.

We may have lost the war...but we have gained another masterpiece by one of our greatest directors and one of our greatest writers.

Reviewed by jotix10010 / 10

Jean and Michele

This atmospheric film, directed by Marcel Carne, presents a case for the poetic realism, a style that was prevalent in the French cinema of that era. Carne and his collaborator, Jacques Prevert, adapted the Pierre Dumarchais novel for the screen giving it a powerful visual style that reflected the way most French film makers embraced for the stories they loved to give their audiences. Mr. Carne was blessed when he selected Eugene Schuffan as his cinematographer, who did wonders with the way he photographed the story. Maurice Jaubert's musical score also is effective in setting the mood.

The story centers around Jean, a deserter from the army who is hitchhiking north, hoping to get on a ship overseas out of Le Havre. He is almost killed by the truck driver who stops suddenly in order not to harm him. After that, he offers Jean a ride to the port, but Jean infuriates his rescuer when he overtakes the control of the truck to avoid killing a dog. This action nets him with a true and loyal friend, who obviously is grateful and adores his master.

Jean is saved from the police by the drunk Vittel as he is walking on a street near the night club. Inside, Luicen, a local effeminate criminal, Lucien, is trying to scare old Zabel, a shop owner. Vittel asks Jean to go with him to Panama's place, outside the town, by the water. Panama, a kind man with a past, seizes Jean's situation and offers him badly needed food and shelter. It is while he is eating that Jean spots Nelly, a gorgeous young woman who appears either to be a prostitute, or someone awaiting for a rendezvous.

Lucien pays Panama a visit, but Panama repels the intrusion. Nelly and Jean leave together the following morning toward the town. It's clear both like each other. Nelly, who goes back to Zabel's shop, finds the older man repulsive, but it appears that not having any other means of support she must stay in the present situation. Jean doesn't have any idea of what's going on.

At the night club the following night, Lucien is rough with Nelly, but Jean slaps him back provoking tears in the tough guy. Jean, who has found a possibility to get aboard a ship leaving for Venezuela, is surprised when Panama gives him clothing used by a painter he had met the night before. He seems to be on his way out, but Lucien and his gang have another idea for Jean.

The film clearly solidified Jean Gabin's total domination of the French cinema, bypassing the popular Charles Boyer. Mr. Gabin is always a joy to watch in any of his movies. It's easy to see why he was one of France's most beloved figures of the cinema because he was always true to the character he was portraying and he convinces us he is no one but that person in that situation. Michele Morgan, who plays Nelly, one of the great beauties of all time, brings life to this young woman in the story. Her chemistry with Jean Gabin is easy to see. Michel Simon, another great actor from France, is seen as Zabel, a man that loves the young woman, knowing he doesn't stand a chance to get her. Pierre Brasseur is the fiendish Lucien. Eduard Delmont appears as Panama and Raymond Aimos is Vittel.

This film showed Mr. Carne at his best. The film is recommended for lovers of the classic French cinema.

Reviewed by zetes10 / 10

Like Being Punched Really Hard in the Gut

I took a class in French Poetic Realism and Italian Neorealism this past Fall in which I saw many of the best films I will ever see. The third film we watched in the class was Jean Vigo's L'Atalante, which is just about the most gorgeous experience in film viewing I have ever experienced. I left the building in a cloud of euphoria, and I have never stopped thinking about it. One week later, we watched Le Quai des Brumes (Port of Shadows). It affected me greatly in the opposite direction of L'Atalante. It made me lonely and grief-stricken. That is in no way a criticism; for the most part, any film that transforms my emotions, whether for the better or the worse, is a great film.

Le Quai des brumes is about a man played by the great Jean Gabin (the star of La Grande Illusion) who has deserted the army (a fact that is never mentioned specifically, since the French censors refused to let the filmmakers portray such an immoral deed). Everyone who he finds around him is morally corrupt. He finally befriends a dog, the most loyal of all animals, and then Nelly, a young woman who is being torn apart by her gangster suitor, Lucien, and her foster-father Zabel (played by L'Atalante's own Michel Simon).

The whole film falls into unavoidable and quite grueling violence. It is so depressing that the French director Jean Renoir (of La Grande Illusion and Rules of the Game) accused it of being Fascist. Those who know the film know this quotation, and have pondered it for the longest time. It does make perfect sense however. Hope leaves quickly after it is seen, and it is hard to get rid of. It fascistically knocks you down. 10/10

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