Adapted from a novel by Jacques Prevert, Port of Shadows (Quai des brumes) stars that eternal victim of society, Jean Gabin. Having deserted the French army, Gabin ducks into a back alley and meets the lovely Michelle Morgan. He becomes her champion by taking on her evil "protectors" (Michel Simon, Pierre Brasseur), but loses his last bid for freedom--and his life--in the process. Irredeemably gloomy, Port of Shadows was a primary influence in the "film noir" genre pursued by Hollywood in the 1940s. The film was the first of three collaborations between writer Jacques Prevert and director Marcel Carne, culminating in the incomparable Les Enfants du Paradis (1944). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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On the surface, it appears to be a story of star-crossed lovers. Yet, the film burrows deeper into questions of identity, moral responsibility, and desire. Its a bit of a fairy tale or even morality play, but the cinematography gives it an evocative heft, and the actors, including the incomparable Jean Gabin, infuse a subtlety that elevates the simple script.