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Eclipse Series 34: Jean Gremillon During the Occupation (Remorques, Lumiere d'ete, Le ciel est a vous) (Criterion Collection)
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(1941, 84 minutes, Black & White, Monaural, In French with English subtitles, 1.33:1 aspect ratio):
Jacques Prévert cowrote this atmospheric tale of the romantic trials of a tugboat captain, played by the iconic French star Jean Gabin. For André and the other members of the Cyclone's crew, existence is harshly divided between the danger of the stormy seas and the safety of life at home with their patient women. When André meets temptation in the form of the alluring Catherine (Michèle Morgan) during a risky rescue, he comes perilously close to betraying his wife (Madeleine Renaud) of ten years. The haunting REMORQUES is distinguished by beautiful tracking shots and cunning special-effects work.
(1943, 110 minutes, Black & White, Monaural, In French with English subtitles, 1.33:1 aspect ratio):
A shimmering glass hotel at the top of a remote Provençal mountain provides the setting for a tragicomic tapestry about lives on the edge. This Jacques Prévert and Pierre Laroche–scripted tale of an obsessive love pentangle—whose principals range from artist to hotel manager to dam worker—was banned from theaters for the duration of the occupation for its dark portrayal of the hedonistic excesses of the ruling class.Today, it is often singled out as Grémillon's greatest achievement.
LE CIEL EST À VOUS
(1944, 107 minutes, Black & White, Monaural, In French with English subtitles, 1.33:1 aspect ratio):
In this soaring romantic drama, the wife (Madeleine Renaud) of a former fighter pilot (Charles Vanel) who is preoccupied with his glory days in the sky during World War I, falls in love with the idea of flying herself. This soon becomes an obsession, and she undertakes a lofty feat: the longest solo flight ever made by a woman. A warm look at a working-class family as well as a triumphant tale of determination, LE CIEL EST À VOUS was one of Grémillon's most successful films, and can be interpreted as a necessarily stealthy portrait of nonconformity.