Gabin made two movies during his brief, unhappy stint in Hollywood. This odd little mood piece, an attempt to recreate the ambience of his pre-war poetic realist classics, was the first. Fritz Lang began this story of an itenerant fisherman named Bobo (Gabin) who, fearing he may have killed a man by accident, hides out on a barge and saves Anna (Ida Lupino) from a suicide attempt. He was replaced after four days by able hand Archie Mayo. Although the plot doesn’t quite add up, there’s something wonderful about this moody, fogbound melodrama, and Gabin and Lupino make a terrific couple. The level of talent on hand is considerable: John O’Hara wrote the script (with uncredited help from Nunnally Johnson), Mark Hellinger produced it, and it was was shot by the great Lucien Ballard. With Thomas Mitchell and Claude Rains. —Film Society of Lincoln Center
Archie Mayo (29 January 1891, New York City – 4 December 1968, Guadalajara, Mexico) was a movie director and stage actor who moved to Hollywood in 1915 and began working as a director in 1917.
His films include Is Everybody Happy? (1929) with Ted Lewis, Night After Night (1932) with Mae West, The Doorway to Hell (1930) with James Cagney and Lew Ayres, Convention City (1933) with Joan Blondell, The Mayor of Hell (1933) with James Cagney, The Petrified Forest (1936) with Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart, and The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938) with Gary Cooper.
Mayo retired in 1946, shortly after completing A Night in Casablanca with the Marx Brothers and Angel on My Shoulder with Paul Muni, Anne Baxter, and Claude Rains.
Mayo has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, CA. —Wikipedia
A foggy studio-bound port is the setting for Gabin's Hollywood debut. At first it's strange to hear him speak heavily-accented English after seeing so many of his French films but I got used to it and became caught up in the story of a drifter and his relationship with a woman he saves from suicide. Ably supported by Mitchell and Rains, the film aims for poetic realism and succeeds admirably despite a happy ending...
Jean Gabin's ill fated stint in Hollywood during the Nazi occupation of France was much hyped by Fox for this studio-bound tale of wharf rats mingling with love, fate, murder, and deception amongst the shadows and fog. The expressionistic lighting is reminiscent of the kind of poetic realism Gabin's French films, especially "Port of Shadows", would have been known for in 1941.