GATES OF THE NIGHT
PORTES DE LA NUIT
1946, Janus Films, 100 min, France, Dir: Marcel Carné

Director Marcel Carné and collaborator Jacques Prévèrt, the toast of French cinema in 1945 with the release of the epic CHILDREN OF PARADISE, found themselves in the doghouse with critics and audiences alike when they released their follow-up, GATES OF THE NIGHT. A troubled production history (original stars Jean Gabin and Marlene Dietrich bailed out), a contentious storyline (no one was happy with the pointed references to the black market that had sprung up after the Liberation) and the film’s unremitting darkness raised eyebrows and hackles when it was released in 1946. Seventy years later, however, the film can be seen as a singular, masterful work, filled with colorful and mysterious performances - including a young and highly appealing Yves Montand. With Pierre Brasseur, Serge Reggiani, Jean Vilar and Nathalie Nattier.


THE WAGES OF FEAR
LE SALAIRE DE LA PEUR
1953, Janus Films, 131 min, France, Italy, Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Later remade as William Friedkin’s SORCERER, Pauline Kael called this nail-biting thriller “the most original and shocking French melodrama of the ’50s.” When one of its South American wells catches fire, an oil company hires four drivers to transport the nitroglycerin needed to extinguish it. Yves Montand stars as one of the men desperate enough to carry the explosive cargo over very rough mountain roads. In French with English subtitles.


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