Marcel Carné

Port of Shadows

Port of Shadows

Down a foggy, desolate road to the port city of Le Havre travels Jean (Jean Gabin), an army deserter looking for another chance to make good on life. Fate, however, has a different plan for him, as acts of both revenge and kindness render him front-page news. Also starring the blue-eyed phenomenon Michèle Morgan in her first major role, and the menacing Michel Simon, Port of Shadows (Le Quai des brumes) starkly portrays an underworld of lonely souls wrestling with their own destinies. Based on the novel by Pierre Mac Orlan, the inimitable team of director Marcel Carné and writer Jacques Prévert deliver a quintessential example of poetic realism and a classic film from the golden age of French cinema.

Film Info

  • Marcel Carné
  • France
  • 1938
  • 90 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • French
  • Spine #245

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound
  • Gallery of production stills and promotional posters
  • French theatrical trailer
  • New and improved subtitle translation
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition
  • Plus: A 32-page booklet featuring a new essay by cultural historian Luc Sante and a new translation of excerpts from Marcel Carné's autobiography Ma vie à belles dents (My Life with Gusto)

Design by Eric Skillman, based on a theatrical poster

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound
  • Gallery of production stills and promotional posters
  • French theatrical trailer
  • New and improved subtitle translation
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition
  • Plus: A 32-page booklet featuring a new essay by cultural historian Luc Sante and a new translation of excerpts from Marcel Carné's autobiography Ma vie à belles dents (My Life with Gusto)

Design by Eric Skillman, based on a theatrical poster

Port of Shadows
Cast
Jean Gabin
Jean
Michèle Morgan
Nelly
Michel Simon
Zabel
Pierre Brasseur
Lucien
Edouard Delmont
Panama
Raymond Aimos
Half-Pint
Robert Le Vigan
Michel Krauss
René Génin
The doctor
Jenny Burnay
Lucien's girlfriend
Claude Walter
Lucien's cohort
Marcel Perez
The truck driver
Roger Legris
Hotel waiter
Kiki
The dog
Credits
Director
Marcel Carné
Screenplay
Jacques Prévert
Based on the novel Le Quai des brumes (1927) by
Pierre Mac Orlan
Producer
Grégor Rabinovitch
Editing
René Le Hénaff
Cinematography
Eugen Schüfftan
Assistant camera
Philippe Agostini
Assistant camera
Henri Alekan
Assistant camera
Marc Froissard
Assistant camera
Louis Page
Production manager
Simon Schiffrin
Original music
Maurice Jaubert
Sound
Antoine Archimbaud
Set design
Alexandre Trauner
Costumes
Coco Chanel

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Port of Shadows

As epochal as any film made in France in the 1930s, Port of Shadows (Le Quai des brumes, 1938) is a definitive example of the style known as “poetic realism.” The ragged outlines, the lowdown settings, the romantic fatalism of the protagonists, t…

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Explore

Jean Gabin

Actor

With his penetrating gaze, quiet strength, and unshakeable everyman persona, Jean Gabin was the most popular French matinee idol of the prewar period, and remains one of the great icons of cinema. Though his parents were cabaret performers, Gabin—born Jean-Alexis Moncorgé in 1904—put off show business at first, working instead as a laborer for a construction company. He eventually followed in his family’s footsteps, though, appearing onstage at various Paris music halls and theaters, including the Moulin Rouge. This led to roles in silent films, but it was with the advent of sound that Gabin found his true calling—even if his quiet stoicism was what he would become best known for. His work with director Julien Duvivier would prove his most important: they collaborated on two successful films in the midthirties (Maria Chapdelaine and La bandera), but it was their third, Pépé le moko, that, in creating the romantic criminal antihero archetype, shot Gabin into the stratosphere. As Michael Atkinson has written for Criterion, “Without its iconic precedent, there would have been no Humphrey Bogart, no John Garfield, no Robert Mitchum, no Randolph Scott, no Jean-Paul Belmondo (or Breathless or Pierrot le fou), no Jean-Pierre Melville or Alain Delon, no Steve McQueen . . .” Soon after Pépé, Renoir’s antiwar masterpiece Grand Illusion hit, and it was an even bigger smash, cementing Gabin’s superstar status; in this and all of his most successful roles (La bête humaine, Le jour se lève), Gabin played some form of working-class social outcast, and he always provided audiences with a strong point of identification. Following a brief, less successful stint in Hollywood and a period of fighting with the Allies in North Africa during World War II, Gabin saw his film career slow down, and he appeared mostly in supporting roles for a while (including in Ophuls’s Le plaisir). Jacques Becker’s 1954 heist thriller Touchez pas au grisbi was the comeback he needed, and it propelled him into a successful second act, which lasted until his death in 1976.