Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Well, here it is, everybody:

On Saturday September 6th and Sunday September 7th, the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theater, at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, is celebrating the great French movie star/icon Jean Gabin with a two-evening tribute, featuring four great movies, and a book-signing with Charles Zigman (me!), the author of WORLD'S COOLEST MOVIE STAR: THE COMPLETE 95 FILMS (AND LEGEND) OF JEAN GABIN, VOLUMES ONE AND TWO ( One of the films, the outstanding noir "Le Port du desir," a kind of 'waterfront Casablanca,' hasn't even been screened in the U.S., anywhere, since its initial release in 1959 -- almost fifty years ago.

Here's a link to the schedule for this event:

If you know anybody who loves Jean Gabin, or anybody who loves having a great night out at the movies, please let them know about the event.

The phone number for the American Cinematheque is (323)461-2020.

If you can't click on the above link for the program schedule, I've pasted it here:

September 6 & 7 at the American Cinematheque (Egyptian Theatre)
Program Notes by Chris D. (Director of Programming)

What can one say about French superstar Jean Gabin? If he’s not the “world’s coolest movie star” as proclaimed by the title of Charles Zigman’s entertaining and endlessly illuminating new biography of the actor (in two mammoth volumes!), he has to be up there in at least the Top 5. Gabin’s appeal, like that of Bogart, his American counterpart, relies on a quiet, unpretentious toughness, an unassailable integrity, a cynical -but not nasty - sense of humor and a classy, non-judgmental wisdom about people and the ways of the world. He projects his persona effortlessly, but forcefully, from the screen, the world-weariness and resigned, wisecracking fatalism of a wide-ranging array of characters, from tragic drifter to insightful patriarch. Join us for these Gabin gems, including the hard-to-see THE SICILIAN CLAN (in a new 35mm print!), the long-unavailable MOONTIDE, the ultra-rare HOUSE ON THE WATERFRONT and the French crime classic GRISBI. Author Charles Zigman will be signing and selling his new biography, "World’s Coolest Movie Star: The Complete 95 Films (and Legend) of Jean Gabin" each night preceding the screenings.

Series compiled by Chris D., with the assistance of Charles Zigman.
Special Thanks: Caitlin Robertson/20TH CENTURY FOX; Eric Di Bernardo/RIALTO PICTURES.

Saturday, September 6 - 7:30 PM
Jean Gabin Double Feature:
THE SICILIAN CLAN (LE CLAN DES SICILIENS), 1969, 20th Century Fox, 118 min. Expatriate Sicilian mobster Jean Gabin and his family shelter homicidal, lone wolf jewel thief Alain Delon after his daring escape from a prison van. Delon proposes a multi-million dollar jewel heist to Gabin that is fraught with danger, but the semi-retired patriarch signs on when he decides it will allow him to retire home to Sicily all the faster. But no one counts on dogged police inspector Lino Ventura (CLASSE TOUS RISQUES, SECOND BREATH) on Delon’s trail. Ventura is extra-surly from trying to kick cigarettes and channels all his frustrations into nabbing Delon and his accomplices. Director Henri Verneuil collaborated with Gabin and Delon on another earlier heist picture ANY NUMBER CAN WIN (MELODIE EN SOUS-SOL) in 1963. Ennio Morricone provides another memorable score. Dubbed-in-English version. NOT ON DVD

MOONTIDE¸ 1942, 20th Century Fox, 94 min. In the mythical California port of San Pablo (standing-in for San Pedro), hard-drinking longshoreman Bobo (Jean Gabin) becomes convinced by blackmailing comrade Tiny (Thomas Mitchell) that he has killed a man in an alcoholic black-out. Despairing Bobo simultaneously falls-in-love when he saves suicidal waitress Anna (Ida Lupino) from trying to drown herself. Gabin and Lupino are electric together, generating transcendental romantic chemistry, and Claude Rains as a barroom philosopher prefigures his chivalrous Frenchman in CASABLANCA.This was one of two films that Gabin made in America. Director Archie Mayo took over when original director Fritz Lang quit a few days into production. Charles G. Clarke’s luminous black-and-white cinematography was Oscar-nominated. Original English language version. Booksigning preceding the screening at 6:30 PM with Charles Zigman, author of The World's Coolest Movie Star: The
Complete 95 Films (and Legend) of Jean Gabin Vol. 1 & 2.

Sunday, September 7 - 7:30 PM
Jean Gabin Double Feature:
HOUSE ON THE WATERFRONT (PORT DU DÉSIR), 1955, 94 min. Dir. Edmund T. Gréville (PRINCESS TAM-TAM). Jean Gabin is a disillusioned tugboat captain with a wayward daughter. He becomes embroiled in a plot to cover up a murder when tough young diver Henri Vidal is bribed by a gangster (Jean-Roger Caussimon) to retrieve a dead woman’s body from his sunken ship that is about to be salvaged. Co-starring Andrée Debar, Edith Georges. In French with English subtitles. NOT ON DVD

GRISBI (TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI), 1954, Rialto Pictutres, 88 min. Dir. Jacques Becker (CASQUE D’OR, LE TROU) Aging gangster Jean Gabin is sitting on a fortune in gold from a perfect heist - but sleazeball Lino Ventura decides he wants in on the action, with the help of a double-crossing chorus girl, Jeanne Moreau. This exquisite noir was passed over by the Cannes Film Festival because "it gave the wrong idea of French cinema" - it went on to become a huge hit and inspired a wave of crack crime films like BOB LE FLAMBEUR and RIFIFI. Booksigning preceding the screening at 6:30 PM with Charles Zigman, author of The World's Coolest Movie Star: The Complete 95 Films (and Legend) of Jean Gabin Vol. 1 & 2

Also: If you're not already a member of the American Cinematheque, please consider it. Not only is a membership tax deductible, but you get to see great movies where they're supposed to be -- on the big screen.

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