The Lower Depths

Director: Jean Renoir
Year Released: 1936
Rating: 3.0

A thief and a baron become friends in this (free) adaptation of Maxim Gorky's play - the thief seeks to protect a younger woman from an arranged relationship with a portly inspector while the baron adjusts to his new life as a pauper. It's definitely not the most focused effort by Renoir - it hops from character to character rather whimsically - and struggles to compensate for its essential negativity with unforeseen hopefulness, though the director (with Gorky's blessing!) patches together a rough but intriguing little film. Gabin is great as the thief, though it's the same type of role he played in so many pictures, even Pépé le Moko a little later on.