The Lower Depths

  • 1936
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Jean Renoir's adaptation of the famed Gorky play moves the action from its original pre-Revolution Russian setting to the streets of Paris. Louis Jouvet is a baron who has lost his fortune and has nowhere to turn until he meets Pepel (Jean Gabin), a lower-class thief who gains the nobleman's respect. After an all-night card game, the baron and Pepel become...read more

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Jean Renoir's adaptation of the famed Gorky play moves the action from its original pre-Revolution Russian setting to the streets of Paris. Louis Jouvet is a baron who has lost his fortune and has nowhere to turn until he meets Pepel (Jean Gabin), a lower-class thief who gains the

nobleman's respect. After an all-night card game, the baron and Pepel become great friends, and Pepel offers his "partner" a chance to escape and live in a flophouse with a horde of thieves, drunks, and prostitutes. The slum quarters are run by the old, miserly Kostyley (Vladimir Sokoloff), who

lives there with his young mistress, Vassilissa (Suzy Prim). Vassalissa is also Pepel's mistress, though Pepel really loves her sister Natacha (Junie Astor), whom Kostyley is trying to marry off to a nasty police inspector. While THE LOWER DEPTHS is perhaps only mediocre Renoir (its supporting

characters and slum world conventionally one-dimensional instead of complex), 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. Reportedly, Gorky saw the original script by Eugene

Zamiatine and Jacques Companeez and gave his approval before his death in 1936. (In French; English subtitles.)

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Jean Renoir's adaptation of the famed Gorky play moves the action from its original pre-Revolution Russian setting to the streets of Paris. Louis Jouvet is a baron who has lost his fortune and has nowhere to turn until he meets Pepel (Jean Gabin), a lower-… (more)

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