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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Moontide (1942)

Moody atmospheric noir with a screenplay by John O’Hara and one of the rare Hollywood films of Jean Gabin can’t help but be reminiscent 30s French cinema. Not just Gabin’s presence which brings up images of PORT OF SHADOWS (there’s even a stray dog who accompanies Gabin) and PEPE LE MOKO but since almost the entire film takes place on the waterfront and on a barge, L'ATALANTE also comes to mind. An aimless drifter (Gabin) with a violent temper and an emotionally lost wharf waif (Ida Lupino), both “damaged” people, find each other and attempt to make a life together despite the malevolent intentions of a rat (Thomas Mitchell) who may have sexual designs on Gabin (there’s a bizarre sequence of Mitchell whipping a naked Claude Rains with a towel!) trying to break them up. Gabin and Lupino play off each other wonderfully and the exquisite B&W shadowy cinematography is by Charles Clarke who received an Oscar nomination for his work here. Directed by Archie Mayo. With Robin Raymond and Jerome Cowan.

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