Blu-Ray Review – Le Quai Des Brumes
Title: LE QUAI DE BRUMES
The final release this week for the Studiocanal Collection is Le Quai Des Brumes, Stu takes a look at this restored classic One of the best things about Blu-ray is that it has provided opportunity for viewers to see older films as they were intended. Whilst the high quality image and sound is fantastic in [...]
The final release this week for the Studiocanal Collection is Le Quai Des Brumes, Stu takes a look at this restored classic
One of the best things about Blu-ray is that it has provided opportunity for viewers to see older films as they were intended. Whilst the high quality image and sound is fantastic in new films, it is always a treat to get to see a film from a different time with an extra layer of shine of it. Le Quai Des Brumes (Port of Shadows) is a 1938 French film, and spending an hour and a half with it is like being in a time machine.
Le Quai Des Brumes follows Jean (Jean Gabin), an army deserter who has just hitched a ride into Le Havre, hoping for a fresh start. Jean meets a seventeen year old girl called Nelly (Michele Morgan), who has run away from her lustful godfather. Jean quickly gets involved in a bad situation and it is clear that things are not going to go well for him.
Le Quai Des Brumes is one of the most highly regarded French films of the era, and was highly influential. The cinematography is beautiful – every shot is like a painting – and the lighting style (a lot of figures standing in pools of light whilst surrounded by darkness) is reminiscent of the American film noir films of the 1940s – which Le Quai Des Brumes undoubtedly influenced. Likewise, Jean Gabin’s portrayal of Jean as a “tough guy” kind of character is similar to Bogart and the like in the ‘40s, and would have influenced the great French “tough guy” style characters that Jean-Paul Belmondo and Eddie Constantine played in the Nouvelle Vague films of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Le Quai Des Brumes has never really had a decent home media release, with only a minimal DVD release in 2004, but this Blu-ray is the essential version. The print was in poor condition for such a long time, and it has been lovingly restored here. Sadly, some parts were cut from the film by censors in 1939, and they could not be saved, but the film is still coherent for the most part. The restoration work has the film both looking and sounding fantastic, and the people behind the work can really be proud of themselves
The extras on show here are as interesting as the film. There is a short introduction by scholar and critic, Ginette Vincendeau – which is very informative and I strongly recommend watching this before the film. There’s a very exhaustive documentary entitled On The Port Of Shadows, which would tell you everything that might ever want to know the film – and more. However, the real highlight is Restoring Le Quai Des Brumes – where the viewer is taken through the restoration process by those behind it.
Whilst Le Quai Des Brumes is never going to be something to demo the home cinema with, it is still a great Blu-ray release, and it really is a pleasure to be able to watch it almost as it was intended
LE QUAI DES BRUMES IS RELEASED THIS WEEK ON BLU RAY BY STUDIOCANAL