Actors, Articles, Films, News, Noir Festivals

Jean Gabin Retrospective

La bête humaine (1938)

Thanks to the mysterious Dark City Dame for a heads up on these screenings.

The American Cinematheque will this weekend (Sept 6-7) at The Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, screen four films starring French screen legend, Jean Gabin, under the banner Jean Gabin: The World’s Coolest Movie Star:

The Sicilian Clan (Le Clan Des Siciliens), 1969, 20th Century Fox, 118 Min
Moontide¸ 1942, 20th Century Fox, 94 Min
House On The Waterfront (Port Du Désir), 1955, 94 Min. Dir. Edmund T. Gréville
Grisbi (Touchez Pas Au Grisbi), 1954, Rialto Pictures, 88 Min. Dir. Jacques Becker

The full schedule and trailers are available here.

Apropos Jean Gabin – my favorite French tough guy – he starred in most of the poetic-realist French movies of the 30s, which were really the pre-cursors of Hollywood noir.  As Geoff Mayer and Brian McDonnell say in their book, Encyclopedia of Film Noir (Greenwood Press 2007): “in these movies an ironical poetry was found in the everyday: hence the term poetic realism. The iconography of the cycle included the shiny cobblestones of nighttime Parisian streets (the faubourgs), the shadowy interiors of neon-lit nightclubs, and the moody, haunted, doom-laden faces of actors such as Jean Gabin. As well as inspiring Hollywood film-makers, who viewed them admiringly, some of these French films were actually remade as American noirs, for example, Le Chienne (1931) was remade as Scarlet Street (1945), La bête humaine (1938) as Human Desire (1954), Pépé Le Moko (1937) as Algiers (1938), Le Jour se lève as The Long Night (1947), and Le Corbeau (1943) as The Thirteenth Letter (1951).”

I saw La bête humaine a few years back and it is everything we would expect in a film noir of the 40s with a really downbeat ending.


  1. Fanglei

    I like this guy’s performence in “Port of Shadows”,sadness and misfortune seems always hover on the character which he plays

  2. Tony D’Ambra said,”Thanks to the mysterious Dark City Dame for a heads up on these screenings.”

    There no “mysterious” here, Tony D’Ambra!…especially, when it comes to me saying to you!… You’re very welcome!

    Btw, A very “nice” poster for the film “La Bete Humaine” (I collect film (movie) posters, lobbycards, and presskits. Hence, the reason I am always commenting on your posters on your website.) and a very “interesting” trailer for the 1969 20th Century Fox’s film “The Sicilian Clan” (Le Clan Des Siciliens).

    The DarkCityDame,
    Thanks, TD’A

  3. Yes DCD, Gabin’s face, like Bogart’s, says it all. Another French actor is Jean Servais, who starred in Dassin’s Rififi. This is an extract from a comment I posted on the review of Rififi:

    “George Orwell, who died at 46, wrote in his last diary entry that a man at the age of 50 has the face he deserves. An academic on the radio yesterday said Orwell was only partly right: a man at that age has the face he has willed. [The protagonist] Tony [played by Servais] has such a face – all the pain, betrayal, failure, and tarnished honour that follows [in the movie], is in his face.”

  4. Hi! Tony D’Ambra,
    I am so sorry about that “typo” in my previous comment…What I meant to say is,
    There is no “mystery” here! Tony D’Ambra, especially, when it comes to me saying to you!…You’re very welcome!

    Btw, I did read all the comments over there on the MZ message board during their month long tribute to films that are considered film noir.(Including the one that you “extracted” from your comment.)


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