Jacques Prévert cowrote this atmospheric tale of the romantic trials of a tugboat captain, played by the iconic French star Jean Gabin. For André and the other members of the Cyclone’s crew, existence is harshly divided between the danger of the stormy seas and the safety of life at home with their patient women. When André meets temptation in the form of the alluring Catherine (Michèle Morgan) during a risky rescue, he comes perilously close to betraying his wife (Madeleine Renaud) of ten years. The haunting Remorques is distinguished by beautiful tracking shots and cunning special-effects work. –The Criterion Collection
Jean Grémillon (3 October 1901, Bayeux, Calvados – 25 November 1959) was a French film director. After directing a number of documentaries during the 1920s, many now lost, he had his first substantial success with the dramatic feature Maldone in 1928. Over the next quarter-century, he directed twenty more feature films, of which he is best known for five made between 1937 and 1944: L’Étrange M. Victor, Gueule d’amour (1937), Remorques (1941), Lumière d’été (1943), and Le Ciel est à vous (1944).
Grémillon rejected what he referred to as “mechanical naturalism” in favor of “the discovery of that subtlety which the human eye does not perceive directly but which must be shown by establishing the harmonies, the unknown relations, between objects and beings; it is a vivifying, inexhaustible source of images that strike our imaginations and enchant our hearts.” —Wikipedia
Great story and acting. I loved the chemistry between Gabin and his two loves. The use of miniatures for the stormy water scenes was effective, although the modern audience might find it antiquated and perhaps laughable. Cpt. Laurent's wife was such a tragic character and gets all my sympathy. Unhappy endings are the best.
Grémillon's story of the doomed romance between the captain of an SOS vessel and the woman he rescues began filming before the outbreak of World War II but dragged on for over two years and was completed under German occupation. Gabin and Morgan, so brilliant in Carné's Port Of Shadows, are partnered again and light up the screen. The story is touching and fatalistic; not for one second do you expect a happy ending..
On the three impressive films included in Criterion’s set, “Jean Grémillon During the Occupation”.
A look at some of the best original French posters for the films in Film Forum’s current series: The French Old Wave.
Jean Gremillion was a very successful French director during the 1930’s and 40’s who’s reputation never translated to the wider film going public across the globe in the way it did for his contemporaries… read review