Marcel Carné

Sog.: dall’omonimo romanzo (1927) di Pierre Mac Orlan; Scen. Dial.: Jacques Prévert; F.: Eugen Schüfftan; Op.: Louis Page, Marc Fossard, Henri Alekan; Mo.: René Le Hénaff; Scgf.: Alexandre Trauner; Mu.: Maurice Jaubert; Su.: Antoine Archaimbaud; Int.: Jean Gabin (Jean), Michèle Morgan (Nelly), Michel Simon (Zabel), Pïerre Brasseur (Lucien), Robert Le Vigan (Michel Krauss, il pittore), Edouard Delmont (Panama), Aimos (Quart-Vittel), Marcel Pérèz (il camionista), René Génin (il dottore), Jenny Burnay (la ragazza di Lucien), Roger Legris (il fattorino dell’albergo), Claude Walter, Martial Rebé, Marcel Melrac; Prod.: Grégor Rabinovitch per Ciné-Alliance; Pri. pro.: 18 maggio 1938 
DCP. D.: 91′. Bn 



T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes


The screens were regurgitating comedies – some musicals and some not – brilliant, full of sun, joy and extras.
And then I showed up with the empty nightclub, the fog, grayness, streets wet with rain and lit by dim streetlamps! Luckily it was too late to change every- thing, supposing – totally unthinkable – that Jacques [Prévert] and I accepted to do it. Moreover, I felt supported by Gabin, whose availability and help alone gave me a sense of security. Filming be- gan as planned on January 2, 1938 in Le Havre, without any cuts. The cold was aw- ful. (…) Naturally, we had counted on the fog, which instead decided not to show up. Trauner and Schüfftan created it ar- ti cially by burning a kind of tar in big metal containers. (…) [Trauner] excelled at building “false perspective” sets. For example, a thirty meter street, once trans- ferred to the screen, gave the impression of being four times as long, if the right tool was used, that is, a lens with a short focal length. The effect depended on the organization and especially the propor- tions of the buildings along the street: the ones in the foreground were normal in size or much smaller, while the other ones gradually decreased in height and width; depending on the length of the street, the last buildings were only two or even just one meter high. The road’s inclined plane rising towards the end also helped the op- tical illusion.
Marcel Carné, La Vie à belles dents, Jean Vuarnet, Paris 1979

Port of Shadows had such a deep in u- ence on French cinema that when Godard presented Breathless twenty-two years later, both Gabin the deserter and Bel- mondo the murderer on the run had many qualities in common as do the two lms. The same is true for Have I the Right to Kill? [by Alain Cavalier] in which Delon is compared to Gabin. And it will prob- ably happen again each time characters show up on the screen who, at one time or another, are cut off from their roots and try to escape from their past with a passionate love story; like the sets where grayness, rain, glimmering pavement and dismal dawns foreshadow misfortune and the certainty of defeat.

Robert Chazal, Marcel Carné, Seghers, Paris 1965

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