LE JOUR SE LEVE (DAYBREAK)
Directed by Marcel Carne
Written by Jacques Viot
Starring: Jean Gabin, Jules Berry, Jacqueline Laurent, Arletty
LE JOUR SE LEVE debuted in 1939 and quickly ran into trouble. Almost immediately it fell into the hands of the Vichy regime and numerous changes were made to make it more palatable to fascist standards of the time.
The film now making the rounds of art houses has been fully restored with all the missing parts reinstated. And what a terrific film it is.
Gabin plays a sand-blaster in a working class French town who murders another man and barricades himself in his sixth floor room where he considers the actions that led to this event. The police employ various tactics to draw him out, but he refuses to emerge and instead fires shots at them, giving little care to where the bullets fly.
His story, told in flashback, is both romantic and sad. Two women enter into it and both are amazing in their roles. There are many gorgeous shots in this film and many surprises. It is the conversations between the four actors that form the nub of the plot, and the entire film, though light on crime after this first act, is about as noirish as it can be. Highly recommended.