Customer Reviews


12 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of French cinema's greatest films!
One of the defining moments in thirties French cinema(perhaps the greatest era in motion picture history), Pepe le Moko c'est la masterpiece. It is the work of a proficient director united with imperious French acting legend, Jean Gabin(La grande Illusion, La Bete Humaine) successfully creating a thriller that functions consumately on a poetic level. Usually filmmakers...
Published on 26 April 2005 by howellzuk

versus
0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
Didn't like this at all. There are much better french films out there. It was exceedingly boring. Battle of Algiers was excellent.
Published on 16 Nov 2008 by A. Nicholaou


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of French cinema's greatest films!, 26 April 2005
This review is from: Pepe Le Moko [DVD] (DVD)
One of the defining moments in thirties French cinema(perhaps the greatest era in motion picture history), Pepe le Moko c'est la masterpiece. It is the work of a proficient director united with imperious French acting legend, Jean Gabin(La grande Illusion, La Bete Humaine) successfully creating a thriller that functions consumately on a poetic level. Usually filmmakers with thrillers in their oeuvre are typically devoid of any poetic intuition in their movies but Duvivier elevates this film to a transcendent plateau rarely frequented by other films in the genre.
The texture of the cinematography has a warmth and richness of visual expression, enhanced with the vernacular architecture of the Casbah, a labyrinth of obscurely named streets which glow with lucidity. Duvivier perfectly articulates the expression of doomed love, and Gabin's aesthetic charm, posture and countenance portray beautifully the gangster le Moko. Put simply this film is cast iron, avant garde masterwork of French cinema.
Word on the DVD. For a 1936 film, it is restored beautifully. Conversely, the waterfall home entertainment release of this film is an abomination, an odious mess that is sheer insolence and impudence in the face of the customer. BUY THIS RELEASE!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jean Gabin at his best, 23 July 2007
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pepe Le Moko [DVD] (DVD)
"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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most influential films of the 20th century, 25 April 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
Jean Gabin, an icon of French cinema, plays Pépé le Moko, a Parisian gangster who has taken refuge in Algiers' Kasbah - a maze of narrow streets and hideaways in which the police have no hope of catching him. He is a notorious local celebrity, admired by the criminal fraternity, adored by women, but troubled. He knows he is already a prisoner - he may be at liberty in the Kasbah, but he is trapped, and longs to see Paris again, longs for the freedom of the open sea. Take one step outside the Kasbah, and the police will have him.
Into his life drifts the beautiful Gaby, a woman who has latched on to a sugar daddy who provides her with diamonds, an exotic lifestyle, and enough freedom to be able to take a walk on the wild side and explore the Kasbah. There she meets Pépé. And the police realise that she might just be the bait to lure him out into the town.
Julien Duvivier's 1937 film was hastily remade in the USA as "Algiers". Its theme of doomed romance would be echoed in "Casablanca". The tense black and white photography would help stimulate the emergence of noir cinema in the USA. It's exploration of the Kasbah will be influential on films like "The Battle of Algiers". And the cynical romanticism of its hero is even at the root of the Pépé le Pew cartoons!
"Pépé le Moko" takes the suave Gabin and creates an anti-hero of epic proportions. At a time when The Soviets were producing images of Socialist Realism - huge, muscular figures in sculpture and painting - and the Nazis were delivering parallel images of Aryan supremacy, Julien Duvivier delivers romantic realism in the form of Pépé, a symbol of working class rebellion and allusion to the dignity of the uncommon criminal (something of a 20th century Robin Hood).
And Duvivier serves up the realism of the Kasbah - a place teeming with life and laughter. There are rich undercurrents of humour in this film, not least in some of the camera angles adopted. The lighting and direction would be influential on generations of French film makers, re-emerging in the 50's and 60's with the New Wave of directors.
This is a richly entertaining cinematographic treat, still highly enjoyable for anyone wanting to watch a fine romantic narrative, and essential viewing for any film student or fan of the cinema. However, the 1936 print has suffered with the years and the earliest DVD release was bleached and scratchy, with subtitles almost impossible to read. This new digital transfer consciously retains some imperfections to add character, and the added extras are a decided bonus - including a 1962 television interview with Duvivier and a tribute to Jean Gabin.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Without Pepe le Moko, Casablanca would still just be a name on a map, 6 May 2007
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Pepe Le Moko [DVD] (DVD)
Pepe le Moko is one of those films that seems to actually improve each time I see it, and not just because it set the mold for every exotic doomed Hollywood romance from Casablanca on. Jean Gabin is at his best here, capturing both the legend and the vulnerability of his criminal king of the Casbah, `ruling' in hell but longing for the heaven beyond its gates. The atmosphere is wonderful, the script sublime, Duvivier's direction superb, and the film so filled with memorable moments that you can forgive the blandness of the leading lady (to be fair, the attraction is meant to be more the lure of the old life and places back home that Pepe once knew) and the over the top performance of Lucas Gridoux, overdoing the Uriah Heap routine as his nemesis Slimaine, potentially the film's most interesting character.

Sadly, unlike Criterion's excellent NTSC DVD, this release is bare bones, but the film itself is more than enough reason to buy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnetic Gabin IS Pepe le Moko, 1 July 2010
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Pepe Le Moko [DVD] (DVD)
"Pepe le Moko," (1936) is a classic French film, a black and white crime/drama/romance, and an early film noir, made before the concept was even codified, by the French. It was based on a novel by Henri La Barthe, writing under the nom de plume of "Ashelbe," which is simply the author's initials: he also did the screen play. Julien Duvivier directed. It concerns the notorious Pepe le Moko, Parisian gangster, on the lam after pulling off a big Marseilles bank job in which there were casualties. He's a wanted man, and he must cool his heels in the labyrinthine Casbah of Algiers, in what was then the French colony of Algeria, in Northern Africa. Within the Casbah, the native quarter, he is beloved, extremely popular with the women, and safe from the police, who, however, never stop scheming as to how they may yet net him. And then he meets and falls for Gaby Gould, a gorgeous Parisienne, and leaves the Casbah for her. It is his undoing.

The magnetic young French actor Jean Gabin, who was born in Montmartre, Paris, embodied the title role magnificently: he had the presence, the chops and the charisma to make it his. Mireille Balin played the gorgeous adventuress. Gilbert Gil plays Pierrot; the well-known theatrical star Marcel Dalio, who played Gabin's friend in La Grande Illusion - Special Edition [DVD] [1937], and the croupier in Casablanca [1942] [DVD], plays L'Arbi. The film was made at the height of French interest in its colonies: it is exotic, moody, atmospheric as all get-out and gives us a great sense of the sun washed, multi-ethnic, menacing city. Black and white photography has seldom been used to better purpose: you can just about feel the heat.

It has been said that, if "Pepe le Moko" had never been written, it would have had to have been written as a vehicle for Gabin, and I believe it. Later in his life, he had great success as Simenon's detective Maigret, but he's more than a little rough around the edges, and makes an entirely convincing gangster; he played many. It has also been said that, if "Pepe le Moko" had never been made, the tremendously popular, Oscar-winning "Casablanca" would never have been made, and I believe that too. "Casablanca" borrows the sense of the atmospheric, mysterious, menacing northern African city, jammed with many different ethnic groups, in its entirety.

Between "Pepe" and "Casablanca," there was, of course, a third film, the 1938 Hollywood remake of Pepe,Algiers (B&W) [DVD] [1938] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]. It starred the very beautiful Hedy Lamarr as the adventuress, in which role she does quite well, her beauty sure helped; and Charles Boyer in the Pepe role. Boyer was, of course, a very handsome Frenchman, but he quite lacked the sheer working class presence that Gabin brought to the role, and cannot, actually, carry the picture as Gabin did. Walter Wanger produced the American copy; it is said that he tried to destroy all copies of the French original, which, luckily for us he was not able to do. To compare the two versions of the story is certainly instructive. It is said that actors were hired for the American copy based upon their resemblance to the French originators of the roles, and that Wanger had a Movieola running at all times in the studio as he was filming, making virtually scene for scene copies of the original. You can, in fact, see that the backgrounds are frequently identical, the lighting just the same, the placement of the actors just the same, and the actors strongly resemble those in "Pepe." There is, of course, something to be said for "Algiers," even so, but you owe it to yourself to see the original.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great film on a superb DVD, 7 Mar 2009
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Pepe le Moko is one of those films that seems to actually improve each time I see it, and not just because it set the mold for every exotic doomed Hollywood romance from Casablanca on. Jean Gabin is at his best here, capturing both the legend and the vulnerability of his criminal king of the Casbah, `ruling' in hell but longing for the heaven beyond its gates. The atmosphere is wonderful, the script sublime, Duvivier's direction superb, and the film so filled with memorable moments that you can forgive the blandness of the leading lady (to be fair, the attraction is meant to be more the lure of the old life and places back home that Pepe once knew) and the over the top performance of Lucas Gridoux, overdoing the Uriah Heap routine as his nemesis Slimaine, potentially the film's most interesting character.

Criterion's NTSC DVD is among their very best, boasting a fine transfer and some excellent extras, from a 33-minute extract from documentary Remembering Jean Gabin to a comparison of the film and its first Hollywood remake, Algiers, as well as a 10-minute archive interview with Julien Duvivier, text extracts from Ginette Vincendeau's book on the film and the original French theatrical trailer. Very highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take me to the kasbah........, 8 Oct 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pepe Le Moko [DVD] (DVD)
Sometimes a film just zooms into your psyche. There just seem to be the right features and degrees of cinematography, pace and narrative to pull you into the atmosphere and storyline. The magnetism of Jean Gabin in this role leaves you rooting and reeling for him in his demise however wayward he has been. Just like ' Casablanca' this film left me with that romantic if somewhat stereotypical vision of a pre- war North Africa full of intrigue and mystique. Good film great escapism!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Pepe Le Moko., 2 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pepe Le Moko [DVD] (DVD)
Quite enjoyable but, as expected, very dated.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A golden oldie, 24 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pepe Le Moko [DVD] (DVD)
Mick LaSalle, film reviewer of a San Francisco newspaper and one of my trusted reviewers, wrote about this film:

"The release of "Pepe Le Moko" (1937) is a treat .....

(The actor) Gabin's Pepe is a lovable, heart-on-his-sleeve sort of fellow, who inspires loyalty through sheer likability. He's young, well-dressed and has a bright open face, not unlike that of Kenneth Branagh. .....

This Pepe has a real capacity for happiness."

This in a nutshell, says it all.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Charming And Frightening, 6 Dec 2012
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pepe Le Moko [DVD] (DVD)
This 1937 gangster thriller directed by Julian Duvivier, who co-wrote the film's razor sharp screenplay with Henri La Barthe (based on Barthe's novel) is another film of this era to showcase the acting talents (in the title role) of the great Jean Gabin. If anyone (not me certainly) was in any doubts about Gabin's stature in the acting stakes, one only has to consider that in the period 1937 to 1939 not only did Gabin star in this superior 'noir-like' thriller, but he also led the way in two outstanding Marcel Carné films (Le Jour Se Leve and Le Quai Des Brumes) and in Jean Renoir's war-time masterpiece, La Grande Illusion.

With a look and feel not dissimilar to Michael Curtiz's Casablanca, Duvivier's film is set in the novel surrounds of the French colony (as was) of Algeria, and specifically the Casbah quarter of the capital Algiers. Early in Pépé Le Moko, Duvivier skilfully sets the scene for the film, as visiting Parisian police inspector Janvier (Philippe Richard) is given the run-down on why the Casbah presents such a challenge to the local police in tracking down local gang leader, Pépé. Some impressive aerial photography charts the labyrinthine, narrow, twisty streets that make up the Casbah and its inhabitants, comprising beggars, gamblers, prostitutes, traders, ragamuffins, etc, and from all corners of the world: Chinese, Maltese, Slavs, Sicilians, Negroes, Spaniards, Gypsies, etc. Indeed, it is the Casbah's community that acts as protection, shielding Pépé against the threat of police capture.

The main narrative of the film concerns a plot hatched by the police, with the help of their informant Regis (the superb Fernand Charpin), to tempt Pépé out of hiding as his young protégé Pierrot (Gilbert Gil) is duped (by Regis) into leaving the Casbah in an attempt to lure Pépé out. However, in the end, it is Pépé's own feelings of longing for his Parisian roots, together with the romantic attraction presented by bejewelled 'tourist' Gaby (Mireille Balin) - whose acquaintances find Pépé 'charming and frightening' - that eventually lead to him dropping his cover. Gabin is (as usual, I guess) superb as the suave, stylish and ruthless gang leader - a man with a taste for fine things ('I was a cabinet-maker as a kid'). His gang is suitably menacing, with fine performances being delivered by Gabriel Gabrio as the combative Carlos and by Gaston Modot as Jimmy. The scene where the gang interrogate Regis is outstanding, full of sarcasm and veiled threats, and its conclusion, as the returning gun-toting Pierrot corners Regis, is equally impressive (with the nice touch at its denouement of Regis accidentally setting off the nearby pianola). Also outstanding are Line Noro as Ines, Pépé's infatuated girlfriend, whose feelings of jealousy are aroused by the gangster's growing obsession with Gaby, and Lucas Gridoux as the 'friendly' and appropriately named sycophantic cop, Inspecteur Slimane.

For those familiar with the fate of Gabin's characters in films such as Le Jour Se Leve and Le Quai Des Brumes, the conclusion to Pépé Le Moko becomes increasingly predictable, but the final shots of Gabin framed by the bars of the harbour gates are no less impressive for that.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Pepe Le Moko [DVD]
Pepe Le Moko [DVD] by Julien Duvivier (DVD - 2004)
12.28
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews