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Port of Shadows (Le Quai des Brumes)

Port of Shadows (Le Quai des Brumes) (1939)



Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 2,274

My Rating

Movie Info

When Jean (Jean Gabin), a deserter from the Colonial Army, hitchhikes his way into Le Havre, he's only looking for a place to hide until he book ship's passage. He never expects to become embroiled in a dispute between local "tough" guy Lucien (Pierre Brasseur) and wealthy but shady shopkeeper Zabel (Michel Simon). Nor does he expect to fall in love with the beautiful Nelly (Michèle Morgan), who Zabel also "keeps" What was supposed to be a stopover on his way to a better life turns into a fight

Jul 20, 2004


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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (1) | DVD (9)

Because it is so uncompromising, so pure, "Port of Shadow's" particularly French brand of romantic fatalism still knocks us out decades after the fact.

January 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

From Gabin's fatigued magnetism to cinematographer Eugen Schüfftan's woodcut-worthy attention to texture, this is movie melancholia of the very highest order.

September 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a film that neither attempts more than it can do nor is satisfied with the trivial, Port of Shadows is a pleasure.

August 29, 2012 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Essentially, this is film noir, so there's crime and romance, but both are submerged beneath a resolutely ground-level exploration of lives in crisis -- a mood bolstered by shots of the down-and-dirty French port groaning into action.

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a thorough-going study in blacks and grays, without a free laugh in it; but it is also a remarkably beautiful motion picture from the purely pictorial standpoint and a strangely haunting drama.

January 28, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The first and probably least of the collaborations between screenwriter Jacques Prevert and director Marcel Carne.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This collaboration of Marcel Carne and Jacques Prevert is a highlight of French poetic realism and a masterpiece of world cinema.

January 24, 2013 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

We empathize with their resistance to suffer, but it's hard to feel something other than philosophical respect for characters who think of swimmers as soon-to-be drowned men.

September 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

[A] 1938 masterpiece of poetic realism...

May 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Carné's thrilling film is an important and undervalued influence on the post-war American noirs of the 1940s.

May 5, 2012 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

One of the definitive examples of the 'poetic realism' style of French cinema of the pre-war and wartime years...

May 4, 2012 Full Review Source: The List
The List

Pessimistic, yet strangely sublime.

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

The results are frustrating, though Michel Simon is wonderfully vulnerable as the shopkeeper Zabel, who complains about the injustice of loving like Romeo but looking like Bluebeard.

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

What is often forgotten when discussing poetic realism is how entertaining the films are, and none is more so than Le Quai des Brumes.

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Electric Sheep
Electric Sheep

Marcel Carné's film has fully earned its status as a classic of French poetic realism.

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Predictably, all ends tragically. But mondieu, doesn't it look sublime?

April 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

This marvelous distillation of the prevailing mood in prewar France was the first feature to win critical acclaim for the directing-writing team of Marcel Carne and Jacques Prevert.

January 9, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Not a cheerful evening's viewing, this, but a superb and compelling example of melancholic realism.

May 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

One of the reasons the French so readily accepted the American film noir of the 1940s is because they already had it in the 1930s, and this crime drama is proof of that.

December 31, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Despite the hospitality of any character in the film, Port of Shadows is a clinical tragedy, and its characters are sentenced to suffer the instant they enter the film.

August 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

A pleasure to watch, and there's much to recommend it. But, like that other poetic realist stalwart Pépé le Moko, what's best about it is its atmosphere of romance.

July 25, 2004 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Port of Shadows (Le Quai des Brumes)

an excellent thriller/mystery from marcel carne about a wandering soldier running from his past, but is unable to run from himself. the film has great performances, especially from gabin, and has a perfect running time to tell a simple story but keep the intrigue.
May 22, 2010
danny d

Super Reviewer

The key word here seems to be "atmospheric". This is a film that permeates your space. Jean Gabin (àlaThe Grand Illusion) is tailor-made for characters with tortured souls and hidden secrets. Wonderfully effective French noir.
April 3, 2010
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Nelly...girl of the waterfront...who at seventeen...had lived far beyond her years
December 18, 2009
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

beautiful film. wonderful atmosphere. heartbreaking ending. jean gabin is the french bogart. and french gangsters are funny! except when they're not
January 8, 2008
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Le Quai des brumes (Hafen in Nebel) (DE)
  • Port of Shadows (Le Quai des brumes) (UK)
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