Algiers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Algiers Reviews

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½ February 19, 2017
A fun Americanized copy of the original.
June 16, 2015
Algiers is an excellent film. It is about Gaby who meets a romantic jewel thief in the mysterious Casbah. Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr give amazing performances. The screenplay is well written. John Cromwell did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama and mystery. Algiers is a must see,
Super Reviewer
½ May 1, 2015
The American remake of Pepe Le Moko is practically a shot for shot, line for line copy, except for a few "make it clearer for the Murricans" changes that are small. Hedy Lamarr is smouldering, and Boyer is all charm, but still the original French version is slightly better, so see that one first.
February 20, 2015
another lost review:(
½ May 30, 2014
A stunning film made before Casablanca, that gives such inspiration to its successor. Amazing performances, brilliantly dark, romantic and comedic - Algiers is a forgotten masterpiece.
March 21, 2014
Loved it! The building up to the final unforgettable scene is flawless. The love of Paris during the thirties is recognized in dozens of films.
½ March 16, 2014
I found this film oddly hypnotic. Sure it is hammy and predicable but the actors seemed to enjoy their roles, however stereotypical they were.
August 24, 2013
Extremely atmospheric - the sets are beautiful and exotic-looking. I wonder how much Casablanca was inspired by this, if at all. Unfortunately the characters aren't very likeable and their relationships to each other seem very false by today's standards.
½ July 25, 2013
The film that made Hedy Lamarr a star. The story involved beautiful Hedy living in the Casbah district of Algiers and falling for handsome jewel theif Charles Boyer. There is even additional dialogue by James M. Cain and moody photography by the great James Wong Howe. This film was reportedly he inspiration for the far superior "Casablanca" and Lamarr was actually the original choice for the Ingrid Bergman role, though MGM would not release her from her exclusive contract to Warner Brothers for the picture. And interesting note of trivia, Chuck Jones based the Warner Brothers cartoon character "Pepe le Pew" on Boyer's character "Pepe le Moko."
½ February 10, 2013
Bad accents and bad acting. The story struggles to find its way. At times it tries to be noir but fails. The most bizarre few minutes is when the lead breaks into song.
May 27, 2012
There are moments in this film that are really fascinating. The sequence in which the camera focuses on Pepe's desperate and methodic steps as he walks in his self created cage is a rare moment in film were a single shot tells so much by doing seemingly a lot and very little at the same time. It may be campy in dialogue, but it seems to work... I was certainly entertained.
March 8, 2012
Boring, boring, and did I say boring.
February 25, 2011
Having never wated a film with Hedy Lamarr I was glad to find this on NetFlix. I have seen photos of Hedy and read some biographies on her, but have never seen her in a movie. She is truely one of the most beautiful women I have seen in the movies. The chemistry between her and Charles Boyer electrifies through the old black and white print of the film I saw. Its not in the classic case of Casablanca, but still a good film with fascinating characters.
January 30, 2011
A Dream Where No Reality Can Be

I'm not sure I'd ever seen a Hedy Lamarr film before, and that means that my first thought of her is not for acting. Yes, she was a beautiful woman, and she does well enough here, but really, she is one of those counterexamples to the belief that beautiful women, and particularly women who use that beauty, are stupid. Indeed, the government told her she was more valuable to them during World War II as a pretty face selling war bonds than as an inventor. Despite that, some of you reading this are almost certainly doing so using technology with its roots in an invention she co-patented in 1942. I'll admit I don't entirely understand it; it seems to have something to do with the use of sound frequencies--originally player piano rolls, it seems--to shift radio transmission. Or something. Anyway, it gets used in Wi-fi. And cordless phones. Though, of course, the patent had long since been allowed to expire before that particular use was developed.

Here, Lamarr is the beautiful Gaby. She and a group of others are in Algiers on a bit of a lark from Paris. The notorious thieves' quarter of Algiers, the Casbah, is ruled by Pepe le Moko (Charles Boyer), a suave and debonair man who escaped to Algeria, then a French colony, after a major jewel heist. He and Gaby meet by coincidence, and he becomes fascinated with what she represents. She is a whiff of the home he so longs for. However, there is the jovial Inspector Slimane (Joseph Calleia), who respects Pepe even though he does not approve and must now actually work to catch him, as officers from Paris are leaning on him. There is a byzantine plot of some kind involving the hapless Pierrot (Johnny Downs). As things fall apart, Pepe clings to Gaby to the dismay of most of his associates and the despair of Ines (Sigrid Gurie). Rather than steal her jewels and run, as is expected of him, he circles her to his doom.

Really, the only one who seems unaware of just how trapped Pepe is, at least for most of the film, is Pepe. He only finally concedes it to Gaby, and he never really seems to acknowledge it to anyone else. I don't know if he actually believes he'll ever leave the Casbah, but the first step in his fate was fleeing there, not somewhere else. He does essentially rule the underworld, but of course that only makes him a target. He just doesn't take it seriously through most of the movie. It's all a game. Grandpere (Alan Hale, whose son resembles him so much that it's distracting here) complains that he must keep replacing doors, as the police keep breaking them down to get at Pepe whenever they think he's there. However, that does mean it's true that the police keep looking for him, and he can't just go about his life. Not that there's another life he would live, of course. Ines may think that he will settle down to a happy life with her, but Ines is only fooling herself on that account.

And, of course, there are the Parisians. The term is "slumming." There is an excitement to going into dangerous neighbourhoods and risking mugging. Now, not everyone in the Casbah is or was actually a criminal. The interrelation between poverty and crime is a lot more complicated than that. It is also true that the rich people are protected by the police. Let the people of the Casbah rob and murder one another; that's their affair and unimportant. Even let them commit crimes in slightly better neighbourhoods and escape to their filthy dens. But people who know policemen in Paris? So long as the locals know that, the rich people are untouchable. Besides, all the locals have fled upon the message that the police have entered the neighbourhood. We only see the blind beggar when the Casbah residents are alone, and if we didn't, they probably wouldn't see him, either. He's not exciting or entertaining. And, of course, there is similar voyeurism in just the making of films like this.

The most striking thing about this movie is its wistful nature. Pepe and Gaby play at being together in Paris, a future they will never and, really, can never share. He pretends that you can see Montmartre from the seaside of Algiers. They talk to one another as though there is nothing else. She is in a relationship with one of the other Parisians; I'm not sure which one or its nature. Or possibly they have just seen her as the road to him, which is certainly true. The net is closing around him. Pierrot, doomed Pierrot, is seen as the first sign of Pepe's ill luck, but the pair never speak of him. What is there to say? She knows it was her jewels which first attracted him to her, and he knows it is his air of danger which first attracted her to him. What of it? They have this moment, if no other. They have each other in a way they will never be able to express to anyone else, and various others try to get them to. In the heart of Algiers, they have Paris.
November 27, 2010
Claustrophobic, mysterious and erotic. First time I've seen Hedy Lamarr, and in no way was she over-hyped.
½ November 19, 2010
Nearly identical to the original Pepe Le Moko and yet not as good. Boyer and Hedy Lamarr make more attractive stars but Jean Gabin's Pepe is the best.
½ November 14, 2010
My first American feature and a monumental moment in my film career.
September 8, 2010
Boyer & Lamarr are why you're watching this thing. And they are fun to watch, sure. The topography of the Casbah is always intriguing as well, but this is the "Three Men & A Baby" of its day. See the original with Gabin.
½ May 10, 2010
Dated but intriguing love story. The setting is the highlight of the film.
January 10, 2010
An archtypical exotic Hollywood romance that brought the wonder of far-flung foreign locales to dusty Depression theaters everywhere, Algiers stars Boyer as Pepe Le Moko, a suave jewel thief holed up in 'zee Casbah' - free to move around within while remaining elusive to French authorties, but unable to leave without being captured - only Lamarr, and the Paris she represents, can serve as bait to lure him out. Movie has solid pacing, convincing sets, and a great supporting character in Joseph Calleia's Slimane - patient, amiable and a worthy adversary to LeMoko. Good stuff.
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