Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jean Gabin day

For those of you who speak fluent French, or don't hate subtitles, you've probably had today marked on your calendars for some time, as TCM is spending this day in Summer Under the Stars honoring French actor Jean Gabin. Gabin actually made two movies in the US in English, although neither of those is airing.

I probably should have done a full length blog post about Le jour se lève, airing at 9:30 AM. It's an interesting movie that predates noir in the US and which was later remade in Hollywood in the late 1940s as The Long Night, which aired a few weeks ago as part of Lucille Ball's day in Summer Under the Stars. I was mildly surprised to see my box guide claim that a 1983 movie called Maria Chapdelaine would be airing at 6:00 PM, since Gabin had been dead for some years by then. TCM's own schedule says that the actually schedule movie is a 1934 version of presumably the same movie.

I say I presume they're the same movie, largely because I haven't seen too many of Gabin's films. Prime time is kicking off at 8:00 PM with Pepe le Moko, which was remade in Hollywood as Algiers, starring Charles Boyer. That's followed at 10:00 PM by Grand Illusion. Grand Illusion is an excellent movie set against the backdrop of World War I (it was made two years before the start of World War II) in which Gabin plays one of two French soldiers who get shot down over Germany on a reconnaissance mission and become POWs.

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