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 ... more »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.« less
Robin Simmons | Palm Springs area, CA United States | 03/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most influential films of the 20th century, PEPE LE MOCO has a legendary reputation for not being seen. In 1938 Hollywood remade it as Algiers, but kept the original off-limits. Jean Gabin, in a truly iconic performance, is the titular notorious and elegant master thief who is safe as long as he stays in the Casbah. "Women long for him, his rivals want to destroy him, and the law is breathing down his neck..." Enter a Parisian playgirl and Pepe is compelled to risk his life and its confines once and for all. This landmark crime romance is the precursor to film noir. Restored to full length, this digital transfer with new subtitles is loaded with extras including a 1962 interview with director Julien Duvivier. Highly recommended."
Jean Gabin At His Best
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 08/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Le Moko? A prince of plunder," says Inspector Slimane. "Fifteen convictions, 33 daylight robberies, two bank holdups. And burglaries? We haven't enough fingers in this room on which to count them all. How could he not be admired? And such a good boy! He wears his heart on his sleeve. As quick with a smile for his friends as a knife for foes. So charming."
Pepe le Moko (Jean Gabin) fled France for Algiers after a robbery, and has been holed up in the Casbah for two years. He's a major crime figure and the police, as long as he stays in the Casbah's labyrinth of streets, stairways and alleys, protected and warned by the people who live there, can't touch him. But le Moko is tired of his fate. He longs for France and freedom. He's bored with his life and with his mistress (Line Noro). The Casbah has become a prison. He knows Inspector Slimane (Lucas Gridoux), for whom he has a degree of liking, is patiently waiting for the opportunity to trap him. Then one night, escaping from a botched police raid, he encounters Gaby (Mireille Balin), a slumming socialite whose bills are being paid by a wealthy older man. She, at first, is intrigued by his reputation and then is captured by his charm and confidence. Le Moko is captured, too, by her beauty, her freshness and by the overwhelming lure of freedom she represents. In the background, observing and then manipulating, is Inspector Slimane. When we first meet him, Slimane seems a little too obsequious to his superiors and a little too outclassed by le Moko. In fact, he proves smarter and more ruthless than anyone else. The ending is a heartbreaker.
Jean Gabin gives a performance of such understated power that you can't keep your eyes off him. What's le Moko like, asks one character. Charming and frightening is the reply. For those, such as myself, who consider Gabin probably the finest screen actor, the charm is there, and so is the possibility of brutality not far from the surface. Lucas Gridoux also gives a fine performance. Inspector Slimane is a "native" cop, working under French superiors. He knows the Casbah, he can read le Moko. He's patient and he's determined. Slimane walks with a stoop and a smile that's all too ready, as though he has learned what it takes to work with the French. With all that, Gridoux gives Slimane a toughness and tenacity that underlines the inevitability of le Moko's fate.
This is a picture to watch while falling in love, said Elvis Mitchell, then a film critic for the New York Times. He's right. The film at times is almost jaunty and can be cynical, but it also tells a story that is poetic, romantic and doomed. After watching the final scene, you'll be glad to have someone to hug.
The Criterion DVD looks just fine. There are several interesting extras."
Incredible Restoration of a Timeless Classic
Andrew Mendelssohn | Charlotte, NC United States | 01/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many thanks to Criterion for releasing this wonderful restoration of Pepe le Moko. This film was impossible to find on dvd prior to this release, and Criterion has gone to great lengths to do a complete presentation.
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."
Dazzling pursue for freedom?
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 04/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pépé, a notorious gangster from Paris, has been forced to seek refuge in the maze of Casbah where he evades the police's futile attempts to capture him. During the police force's attempts to find a way to capture him, the mobster Pépé continues to raid jewelry stores and steal whatever he can get his hands on, and when he is not on a robbery he spends his time with his lover, Inès, or plays card. However, one night when Pépé is dodging the police's hopeless attempts to catch him, he crosses paths with Gaby Gould, a stunning Parisian woman. This encounter opens up Pandora's Box for Pépé and he falls in love with Gaby who reminds him of ultimate freedom. The score played in the film intensifies the perplexity of Pépé's situation that is further improved through cinematography, which produces a sense of entrapment. In addition, the misé-en-scene and acting is of world class. In end, Pépé Le Moko offers a spellbinding story, which at the end deliberately forces the audience to ponder the film's fundamental message."
TAKE ME TO THE CASBAH
JOHN D THOMPSON | NEW YORK, NY United States | 08/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film reached almost legendary status in the US because Hollywood remade it as ALGIERS & kept the original from being shown. Pauline Kael called it 'superb entertainment' & Graham Greene thought it was considerably more. Who am I to disagree? This movie is a perfect demonstration of why women all over the world fell in love with mugs like Gabin & Bogart & why little boys wanted to grow up and be them. The plot couldn't be simplier. A master thief is safe from the police as long as he stays within the confines of the Casbah. A bulldog police inspector is determined to lure him out. Enter the bored mistress of a wealthy Frenchman to complete the triangle. But what drives the story is not plot but character. All the elements: direction, writting, acting, lighting, editing etc. are all of a piece & eliminating one seriously alters the whole. In one memorable scene Pepe & the woman gaze into each other's eyes while reciting stops on the Paris Metro simultaneously reaching the same destination from opposite ends. If this scene doesn't get to you the ending surely will."