Pepe Le Moko

1202. PEPE LE MOKO (1937-France). With JEAN GABIN, MIREIUE BALIN, GABRIEL GABRIO. Directed by JULIEN DUVIVIER. Jean Gabin, a leading figure in pre-World War II French cinema, offers a tour-de-force perforÂmance in this, the film that earned him international acclaim. He stars as she title character, the Prince of the UnderÂworld, a notorious gangster hiding out in the Casbah section of Algiers. The Casbah is like a human forest; itÕs a vast maze of narrow, winding streets and corridors. Pepe may be safe here, but he’s also a prisoner of the Casbah, unable to ever leave its confines. He becomes obsessed with Gaby (Mireille Balin), a beautiful, elegant outsider, and this attachment will ultimately, irrevocably lead to his doom. Gabin’s Pepe Le Moko is one of the definitive screen anti- heroes of the 1930s. He’s a loner, and a criminal; beneath his toughness, though, he’s vulnerable, and quietly desperate. He may not live within the law, but he’s still loyal, courageous, and deeply, profoundly human. Director Julien Duvivier infuses the film with just the right dash of poetic realism. He had been making films since 1919 and, during the 1930s, was finally emerging as one of his country’s most respected filmmakers. Pepe le Moko remains to this day as one of his greatest achievements. It was, in fact, such a hit that it was remade (almost scene by scene, shot by shot) in Hollywood the following year as “Algiers” (See Cat. 0667). In French with Subtitles, 90 minutes. Drama