Les Bas-fonds (The Lower Depths) (Underground) (Underworld) (1936)
Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 8
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 1
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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 1
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 882
Voted 1936's best picture by a circle of prestigious French critics, Jean Renoir's The Lower Depths (Les Bas-Fonds) is based on the "gutter" play by Russian author Maxim Gorky. Louis Jouvet plays The Baron, forced by circumstance to give up his life of luxury and to set up residence in the slums of Paris. As Jouvet observes the passing parade, he bears witness to the frustrated romance between Jean Gabin and Junie Astor, the thwarted dreams of actor Robert Le Vigan, and the oppressive cruelties
Jan 1, 1936 Wide
Aug 10, 2004
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Robert Le Vigan
Felix le domestique
Patron de la guingue...
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Gabin and Jouvet are their usual glorious selves, though the tendency towards pessimism makes this one of Renoir's less rewarding films.
It carries some interest in its curious blend of tones and styles -- it oscillates between vaudeville turns and stark tragedy.
Renoir sought out balance and humanistic sympathy, reshaping the narrative so the thief (Jean Gabin) and the Baron (Louis Jouvet) bond over their mutual rebellion against the social system.
Gabin did not attain the international status of American counterparts or later countryman Belmondo, though his Pepel here is a thing of beauty.
The text is Gorky's, the names and the whiskers are Russian, yet the world here is wholly French, or, rather, wholly Jean Renoir's
The Lower Depths both gains and loses by its proximity to Renoir's later masterpieces: It's not one of them them, but the same guy made it.
The relationship between Gabin's Pepel and Jouvet's Baron is a brilliant one -- Renoir pointing to their internal similarities by stressing their external differences.
Audience Reviews for Les Bas-fonds (The Lower Depths) (Underground) (Underworld)
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