This is the original film. 'Algiers' and 'Casbah' which have similar plots came later. It stars the marvelous Jean Gabin as the title character. Freedom or love. Which is more important? It has lots of action and gunplay. It's a bit overstylized in the way Pepe is photographed. They're trying to make him seem more of a legend, which they really don't have to. Gabin is a legend.
Such a sexy film. Gabin and Balin are all over each other with their eyes. I love them in their other film together, "Gueule d'amour." He was one of greatest romantic actors in film history. Even playing opposite a man he was not afraid to show affection. Look at him in the final scenes in "Grand Illusion" opposite Dalio.
Astonishing. Heartbreaking. Gabin is memorable as a man who lords over the Casbah, but is trapped there at the same time. The characters are all castaways cut off from their roots and set adrift in a world where they don't belong. One of the best French films I've seen.