Pepe Le Moko (Version française)
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Films such as Marcel Carne's "Quai des Brumes", and "Le Jour Se Leve" offer definitive examples of the French poetic realist school with its appealingly romantic drifters (often played by Gabin), sad and worldly women (the likes of Michele Morgan and Arletty), its doomed romances, and shadowy mise en scene. Yet even amongst such undisputed classics as these, Pepe le Moko stands out as something special from its opening shots of the Casbah to its tragic conclusion.
It is particularly fortuitous that we should be able to compare this film to its vastly inferior American remake, Algiers (1938). All that Algiers lacks can be aptly summed up in one word: Gabin. For it is Gabin that makes "Pepe" what it/he is. It is impossible not to feel your heart beat a little quicker at his entrances and exits, and he electrifies the screen at the merest flicker of an eyelid. The film without him (Algiers) betrays the essential silliness of the central plot conceit and charming Charles Boyer does not have the force of personality to smooth out plot weaknesses. In Pepe le Moko one can see the best example to be had of the iconic Gabin role, and in the merging of star and character find something special and riveting.
Criterion has done a magnificent job with this release!Read more ›
The film itself looks wonderful. There's still some slight aging, etc, but most of these were retained on purpose. In addition to the film, this disc includes some great supplements including the history of "Pepe" and a direct comparison between Pepe le Moko and the English language remake the next year, Algiers.
I had seen Algiers many times prior to seeing Pepe. I loved Charles Boyer but if you have a chance to see both films I think you will agree that Pepe le moko is by far supperior. Jean Gabin's screen presence to an extent that Boyer doesn't quite match. In addition, the romance in Pepe has real sparks and chemistry. This is simply a wonderful film, and this dvd edition is excellent.
Thank you Criterion.
Most recent customer reviews
I'm afraid that I was disappointed by this 1936 movie of French gangsters in the Casbah. I suppose this was a copy of American gangster movies, but Jean Gabin as a suddenly love... Read morePublished on June 16 2004 by R. A Rubin
High quality movie with Jean Gabin as the handsome and cool gangster hiding out in the seedy Casbah where people are packed in like sardines. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2004 by Victoria Reyes
One reviewer claimed this higly overrated film was the inspiration for Pepe Le Pew, the Looney Tunes cartoon character. Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2003
One of the most influential films of the 20th century, PEPE LE MOCO has a legendary reputation for not being seen. Read morePublished on Feb. 28 2003 by Robin Simmons
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