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on June 14, 2017
Wonderful film!
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on April 6, 2017
I very much enjoyed this noirish French tale about the titular Parisian gangster (Jean Gabin), who is hiding from the authorities in the dangerous Casbah quarter of Algiers. The law does their damnedest to draw him out by exploiting his womanizing ways and his desire to return home to France. Gabin is memorable and charismatic in the title role, but while he and his cohorts' desire to have a clean escape make the movie’s oppressive atmosphere palpable, the true star of the movie is the Casbah. Duvivier's direction and Fossard and Kruger's cinematography expertly make it into an inescapable labyrinth of debauchery.
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on December 30, 2016
A great movie. Very emotional. Full of intrigue, love, and passion. I found the subtitles easy to incorporate with the video. The characters are interesting and varied. I found the acting to be superb...so much so, I didn't have to follow the subtitles that closely. I felt as if I became part of the story. I highly recommend this film.
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on August 6, 2016
Finally got to see this old movie!!
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on April 29, 2015
Excellent film. Has aged very well. Young Jean Gabin is perfect.
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on January 15, 2014
I originally saw this film in college and fell in love with it. This film is the roots of Film Noir and will be a hit with any fan of the genre. While Pepe is hardly a hero, we, and the rest of the Casbah, can't help but fall in love with him. It's a tragedy of inevitability that somehow creates suspense till the very end. Those who can recognize it will find this to be a masterpiece.
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on March 14, 2013
Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of a crime kingpin slowly being baited out of a colonial city with his obsession for a pretty girl and betrayed by informants and double crossers. It's just that there are too many verbal cliches and fast camera edits crammed into 90 minutes. Scarface would have been more action and less talk. Though the actors did the best they could with what was on the page, there is literally one pause that allows the audience to stop, take a breath, and reflect about what is going on.
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on August 31, 2012
This is a black & white French classic film from the 1930s starring Jean Gabin. It was remade in the U.S. as Algiers starring Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamar. The original French version is better. Part of the extras to the DVD includes a comparison of the two. They're almost scene-for-scene the same.

Pepe (Jean Gabin) is a thief who has been hiding in the Casbah in Algiers since he made off with the goods from his last heist. His money and his forceful personality have made him a big man in the Casbah. Police fear to enter the Casbah, but will catch Pepe if he ever leaves. The police headquarters in Paris wonders why it's taking so long to catch Pepe and send someone down, but it's the local cop who does all the work.

A group of rich French tourists come to Algiers, and the beautiful mistress of the richest tourist meets Pepe.

Watch the film to see the rest. The film is excellent.
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on July 23, 2012
I saw this first at the National Gallery of Art in DC and loved it. Duvivier made many films, and made them well. In this film, the place is absolutely wonderful. Although the film was made in 1937, Duvivier shot some fascinating angles of the Casbah, which created an exotic atmosphere that pervaded the film. The evocation of place included not only the complex architecture of the Casbah, but also the complex and varied society, which was well represented in the main characters, especially by Line Noro as Pepe's old girlfriend. Lucas Gridoux as slimey Inspecteur Slimane contributed a wonderfully effective part in the network of people whom Pepe saw most often.

Black and white suits this film well, since it makes the Casbah look like a place that is no more, and never was part of the modern world.

Jean Gabin brings exactly the right elements to Pepe - rugged, tried, resourceful, and sometimes brutal, yet vulnerable - an Everyman who was no better than he could be, yet longed for a better life.

While some pre-war films have become dated, the romance of Pepe le Moko, and the beautiful evocation of the Casbah, will always be worth revisiting, even if it may one day end up in the huge junkpile that is the setting of Wall-E.
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on May 10, 2012
Jean Gabin is one of my favorite actors. The movie is very good, although a little hard to believe at times (which does not interfere with the pleasure of watching it). What I did not like is the fact that the transfer is probably the worse I have seen in my whole collection of Criterion DVDs ( and I have a few...). The image many times is doubled AND fuzzy for everything that is not dead in the center of the picture, as if watched through a high-distortion glass. I have never seen this before, maybe it is just my copy... 4.5 stars for the movie, 2.5 for the DVD
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