A film by Jean Grémillon
1937, 94 minutes
No. 394

New 4K RestorationThe first collaboration between filmmaker Jean Grémillon and legendary actor Jean Gabin , this adaptation of a novel by André Boucler features the young Gabin as a foreign-legion Casanova – the “lady killer” Lucien Bourrache – who meets his match in the mysterious seductress Madeleine (Mireille Balin).

“Every frame of this exquisite masterpiece is beautifully shot, brimming with movement and life. Jean Gabin is unforgettable in his starring role. The screenplay by Charles Spaak has wonderful dialogues. And Jean Gremillon demonstrates his unsurpassed technical skill and humanity as one of France's greatest directors.”  Phillip Lopate

“Not every rarity is a revelation, but Lady Killer strikes me as the real deal…. The chance to savor such grace doesn’t descend too often. Grab it now.” – Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

    “To come across the films of classic French filmmaker Jean Grémillon is like discovering another country, at once familiar and unaccountably new.”  Los Angeles Times

    “Critic’s Pick! Jean Gremillon’s films are among the most innovative and expressive… and in many ways they look ahead to the rule breaking of the French New Wave. [In Lady Killer], Grémillon supplements the bleak fatalism and noirish intrigue with bursts of quivering melodrama… A startlingly intimate scene of male camaraderie that plays like a fever dream."  The New York Times

      “Gremillon belongs in the hierarchy of classic French cinema alongside René Clair, Jean Renoir, and Marcel Carné... A dark study of masochistic obsession, mixing glamour and anguish, in which Jean Gabin gives the most affecting performance of his long career.”  Village Voice

    “Grémillon’s Lady Killer and The Strange Mister Victor are truly wonderful films. Grémillon is that other great ‘Jean’ in French Cinema (the more well-known one of course being Jean Renoir). Through his films, Grémillon shows that he not only knows where or how to place the camera, but that he grasps the mysteries of this world. Each of his films surprises me. The actions of his characters, for instance, can sometimes appear almost contradictory, but Grémillon imbues them with truth. I still don’t know how he accomplished this. Grémillon is as much a mystery as this world.” - Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Academy Award winning director of Drive My Car