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 Le Jour se leve/ Daybreak DVD ZONE 2 UK

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michel sanvoisin


Nombre de messages : 85
Localisation : rue des moines, paris
Date d'inscription : 11/11/2006

MessageSujet: Le Jour se leve/ Daybreak DVD ZONE 2 UK   Jeu 10 Mai - 18:05

Optimum Home Entertainment has just released in the UK two major movies from Marcel Carne pre-war career. The ones with Jacques Prevert. Quai des Brumes and Le jour se leve.
It is the first time that they are released in the UK with english subtitles. The copy seems to be the one issued in France by Studio Canal.
The website has reviewed Le jour se leve aka DayBreak.
You could read it here. Or in case it disappears, this is a quick cut & paste :

Citation :

DVD Review: Le Jour Se Lève (1939)
Marcel Carné’s career as a director lasted until the 1970s, through the Nazi occupation, the Vichy government and the last breaths of French empire. His greatest work is considered to be the three-hour Les Enfants du Paradis (1945), filmed under the noses of the occupying forces. A love tangle set in the world of the theatre, leading lady Arletty pulls the heart strings of no less than four potential suitors.

In less than half that running time, Carné gives this story a dry run in Jean Gabin’s last major project before the actor chanced his arm in Hollywood, conveniently before Europe collapsed in on itself. Gabin did come back eventually when most directors found him a horror to work with, and the actor regained some glory by fighting with the Free French. He remained one of the country’s most popular actors until his death in 1976.

Le Jour Se Lève (Daybreak) tells the story of François (Gabin), a factory worker brought to murder. The opening shot, both of the film and the story, show a commotion behind the door of a flat. A gun is fired, and someone staggers out clutching a mortal wound. Over the next ninety or so minutes the solitary François, barricaded in his room, remembers how he was forced into such a brutal act.

François falls for a young orphan girl, Françoise (Jacqueline Laurent). During their short relationship, she manages to betray him by falling for a show-off dog trainer (no, really) called Valentin, played with devilish sleaze by Jules Berry. This leads François into the arms of Valentin’s assistant, the decidedly more open and experienced Clara (Arletty). The plot gets twisted more times than Chubby Checker’s pants before we get up to speed. François is not a murderer, but a man driven to murder – an important distinction. Lest we forget, crime passionnel used to be a defence enshrined in French law.

Le Jour Se Lève is arguably Carné’s most compelling film. It’s the darkest noir, the hardest-boiled, and snappier than Les Enfants du Paradis. Once again it’s Jean Gabin who steals the show, as a Gallic combination of McQueen and Bogart. He smoulders, smoking endless unfiltered cigarettes and brooding silently in his cell. He manages to convey a damaged heart simply with looks and gestures.

He’s followed closely by a fine turn from Jules Berry as Valentin. His obsession with the blossoming Françoise is both dangerous and disturbing, and his attempts to get François out of the picture are skin-crawling. He’s a classic villain – over the top, full of conviction and totally without morals.

Carné wisely keeps the ladies parts minimal. Françoise is the naïf innocent who dangles herself between two men who should know better; and Arletty as Clara evokes much sympathy, tossed aside simply because she’s not Françoise. But this is all about two blokes locking horns.

Although the transfer is not as smooth as some Carné films, the movie is still beautifully framed. The edits are a major plus, since Carné waits an eternity to cut between major shots, leaving images that burn themselves onto the retina. This gives the picture a ghostly quality that confuses and entices, much like John Boulting’s Brighton Rock.

Later remade as The Long Night with Henry Fonda, Le Jour Se Lève conveys an attitude of nihilism that was missing from Carné’s post-war work. The shadow of war gave these early Carné films a balance between hope and pessimism, which makes them as powerful to watch almost seventy years after they were committed to film.

Extras: None

Chris Stanley @ cinedelica.com
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