Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Sea is His Mistress

Remorques/Stormy Water (1941) - Gremillon
remorques 1
remorques 2
remorques 3

I'm slowly beginning to realize how these non Hollywood oldies are so exceptionally written- the characters are complex and dialog non derivative. It's as if they went against everything you were taught in modern screenwriting class. Surely there are melodramatic flare but nothing seems deliberate and there is no 'hitting right on the nose'. Note that Jacques Prévert wrote Port of Shadows and Children of Paradise among others.
Remorques tells an affair of a sea captain André Laurent (Jean Gabin). The films shows once again, Gabin's greatness- beneath stoney manliness, lies a complicated man who is just as fragile as his sick wife. Michèle Morgan once again, plays a girl who steals Gabin's heart.

There are some Wellesian craftmanship going on here- tracking shots in the wedding banquet and a zooming out shot from the second story window are truly gasp-worthy. Even though it's a seafaring movie and does have some spectacular rescue mission scenes with the miniature boats but everything takes a back seat to the main story. I really loved it.

Too bad I'll miss seeing it on the big screen. :(