Monday, November 14, 2011

Class #5: Jean Gabin - The French Humphrey Bogart

Jean Gabin

"I understood immediately that to get success I had to make for the front door, not for the back one."

"For many people around the world, Jean Gabin was - and still is - French cinema."  (Lincoln Center Program, 2002.)  Jean Gabin was everything a movie star should be: handsome, suave, dangerous, easy with words, intense, soulful, and magnetic.  We viewed one of his most famous films,  "Pepe Le Moko" (1937), which was remade in the US a year later and titled "Algiers" starring Charles Boyer and Heddy Lamarr.  "Pepe Le Moko" is an excellent film and is probably one of the best to view to know who Jean Gabin was.  Although the film was made in 1937, it feels modern and embodies a spirit that American films could only wish for as they were constrained by the Code at that time.  Jean Gabin is a force on screen who brings power and truthfulness to his roles.  Plus his looks (notice his eyes) pull you in.  He truly was a classic actor in every sense of the word.

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