The notorious Pepe le Moko (Jean Gabin, in a truly iconic performance) is a wanted man: women long for him, rivals hope to destroy him, and the law is breathing down his neck at every turn. On the lam in the labyrinthine Casbah of Algiers, Pepe is safe from the clutches of the police--until a Parisian playgirl compels him to risk his life and leave its confines once and for all. Once of the most influential films of the 20th century and a landmark of French poetic realism.
Jean Gabin was a brooding, rough, working-class antihero in France when his role as cool master criminal Pepe Le Moko made him an international star. In the Casbah of French Morocco, an underworld slum of winding alleys dotted with tiny rooms, bars, and hideouts, Gabin's Pepe is the prince of the criminal jungle while at the same time its prisoner. He's safe only as long as he remains in this world the local gendarmes can't penetrate. During a clumsy police raid, he meets a lovely Parisian (the exotic Mirielle Balin) adorned in expensive jewelry, but in the midst of flirting, his eyes leave her baubles and meet her gaze. Pepe falls in love and Moroccan Inspector Slimane, the only cop to have earned his respect, makes this new chink in Pepe's armor the center of his plan to capture the Casbah's most notorious gentleman thief. Gabin is marvelous as the confident yet restless Pepe, a cultured man--equal parts elegance and edgy brutality; at home in this urban jungle, but restless to escape. Julien Divivier's romantic crime classic is a prime example of French poetic realism (a precursor to American film noir, shot in a shadowy style enhanced by the claustrophobic rooms and crowded streets. It's a world where friendship and trust are everything, yet betrayal and duplicity await around every dark corner, and Pepe exacts a harsh justice on those who defy his code. Hollywood remade the film as Algiers
with continental heartthrob Charles Boyer in Gabin's role. --Sean Axmaker
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.