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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good yarn around it, 31 July 2012
This review is from: Moontide [DVD] [1942] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Moontide (Archie Mayo/Fritz Lang (uncredited), 1942, 94')

Moontide is a 1942 drama film about a man who fears he has committed a murder when he was drunk. It stars Jean Gabin, Ida Lupino, Thomas Mitchell, Claude Rains and Jerome Cowan. It was adapted from the novel of the same name by Willard Robertson. Charles G Clarke was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Black & White. The film story is quite average, but the story/-ies I found around it are worth reading - Dennis Grunes, Hollywood, writes:

>>>Jean Gabin was in his early forties when he made his first American film (Julien Duvivier's 1944 The Imposter was the only other) during the Second World War, when he was stranded in Hollywood. This was Moontide, written by John O'Hara from a novel by Willard Robertson. (That same year, Gabin's Quai des brūmes co-star, Michèle Morgan, dazzlingly starred as Hollywood's Joan of Paris.)

Fritz Lang worked on the film for four days, and he may have quit--I really don't know--because of Gabin's (possibly not very deep) anti-Semitism. (When he and Marlene Dietrich, after the war, were lovers, Gabin would jealously erupt at the mere mention of Lang's name, referring in the most derogatory ways to the Jewish filmmaker who had once also been Dietrich's lover. My sense is that Dietrich taunted Gabin with the fact that he was venturing into terrain where Lang had come first. Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne and other Gentiles in her past, including Claudette Colbert, apparently didn't faze him.)

Archie L Mayo, whose ethnicity I do not know, took over Moontide, and the result is a slow though extraordinarily beautiful black-and-white film, with a titanic performance by Gabin that nearly matches his work, in France, in Duvivier's Pépé le Moko (1936), Jean Renoir's La grande illusion (1937) and La bźte humaine (1938), and Marcel Carné's Quai des brūmes (1938) and Le jour se lève (1939), the last of these, especially, among cinema's greatest performances.<<<end quote

Though very relaxed, Jean Gabin, to me, performs not quite as well as Grunes says by comparing him to his French work, but this is criticism pointing at the director rather than at the actor. Compared to Ida Lupino, obviously used to lusher surroundings, Gabin certainly acts more natural in the rather basic boat shed and sailor pub environment. All acting, however, is good throughout.

118 - Moontide (Archie Mayo/Fritz Lang (uncredited), 1942, 94') - 31/7/2012
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