Originally heavily censored and then banned in its entirety for being “too demoralizing,” Marcel Carné’s classic work of poetic realism has been released in a glorious 4K restoration that invigorates the original. It also restores several cuts demanded by the Vichy regime in Nazi-occupied France, including a glimpse of a naked Arletty emerging from her bathtub. More importantly, the credits of Jewish crew members are reinstated, including that of Curt Courant, whose extraordinary cinematography, replete with chiaroscuro lighting and vertiginous shooting angles, prefigures American film noir.
The film tracks the inevitable unraveling of factory worker François (Jean Gabin) after he kills the absurd vaudeville entertainer Valentin (Jules Berry), his romantic rival for the affections of Françoise (Jacqueline Laurent) and Clara (Arletty). A series of three flashbacks illuminate the events that precede Valentin’s death, as the police slowly close in on François, cornered and chain-smoking. Following on the heels of the recent restoration of Carné’s epic Children of Paradise, the final result is masterful, leaving only a couple of scenes lingering in slightly fuzzy focus.
|Release date:||Friday November 14 2014|
Cast and crew