Le Quai des brumes (Port of Shadows). 1938. France. Directed by Marcel Carnè. Written by Jacques Prévert. Based on the novel by Pierre Mac Orlan. With Jean Gabin, Michèle Morgan, Michel Simon, Pierre Brasseur, Robert Le Vigan. In French; English subtitles. DCP. 91 min.
On the edge of Le Havre, hungry and broke AWOL soldier Jean Gabin meets Michèle Morgan (dressed in iconic beret and plastic raincoat), world-weary painter Robert Le Vigan, creepy shopkeeper Michel Simon, and pathetic “tough guy” Pierre Brasseur, in the archetype of French “poetic realism.” Port of Shadows was the first international success for both Carné and screenwriter Jacques Prévert, prior to their classic collaborations Le Jour se lève and Les enfants du paradis (Children of Paradise). “In 1938, no film looked more revolutionary. With its opening scene of bedraggled Jean Gabin struggling down a foggy road, the very temperament of French cinema changed” (Dudley Andrew).