Les Bas-fonds (The Lower Depths) (Underground) (Underworld) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 5, 2009
it may well be a bastardization of gorky's play but i found it completely charming. louis jouvet is wonderful as the dissolute baron and jean gabin is my hero as ever. i still need to see kurosawa's version which is said to be grittier but i can't help but forgive renoir for loving his characters too much to see them suffer in the end
Super Reviewer
½ April 24, 2007
i watched this film after i saw kurosawas japanese version, and this one was just as good. this is a french film about people who live in poverty. the characters are interesting and the story was told well. you really admire some of these people, and others come across as almost happy and peaceful despite thier circumstances. really good film.
Super Reviewer
March 4, 2008
Looks good, but is missing a punch.
April 21, 2015
My experience with Renoir has been a bit hit and miss. Generally, I find I don't connect very well to a certain kind of humanist film-making that's pretty common in France in the 30s and 40s. "The Rules of the Game", for example, leaves me kind of cold and I have never really been able to see what people love about a film like "L'Atalante". I'm pretty convinced this is largely a failing on my part and that I should revisit these films until something clicks.

When I do connect with them, however, I connect pretty strongly. I love "Grand Illusion", for example, and I absolutely adored this film. This feels like a classic Hollywood film in the best way possible. If Jean Gabin had been American or British, he would have been a huge star. His interplay with Louis Jouvet in this film reminds me of classic pairings like Bogart with Walter Brennan in "To Have and Have Not". I could watch the two of them banter for hours.
December 20, 2011
Jean Gabin + Jean Renoir nunca podem ser menos que fantásticos. :-)
½ January 18, 2011
It might be unevenly paced but The Lower Depths features charming characters and intriguing interactions between them.
July 30, 2010
Fantastic. La Grande Illusion I admired, but this I really connected to. Gabin is astonishing, as is the bulk of the cast, and Renoir's direction, while offbeat at first, really serves the material well. The duality of the story really appealed to me, and it's handled quite deftly. There's also a wonderful sense of place, and there are so many memorable characters - each of them is distinct, which is surprising given that the film runs for only an hour and a half, and some of them only appear in passing. Looking forward to seeing what else Renoir has to offer.
½ December 11, 2006
Directed by Jean Renoir
Starring Jean Gabin

It is hard to lean towards a movie whose characters shout to their reference: ?I?m a thief with a good heart!,? ?I?m the leading lady that needs to be whisked away from this place!? Does Jean Gabin have to always repeat oh so frequently that he?s a thief by profession when he doesn?t even look the part? Jean Renoir?s ?Le Bas Fonds? based on a play by Maxim Gorky is saved momentarily by its supporting cast like Louis Jouvet (haunting as the Baron), Vladimir Sokoloff and Robert Le Vigan. Maybe the Japanese version by Kurosawa is better?
Best Scene: The Baron arrives at the lower depths.
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