A film by Jean Grémillon
1938, 103 minutes
No. 395

New 4K RestorationSetting its scene in the rowdy, wide-open port city of Toulon, Grémillon’s acclaimed drama stars legendary actor Raimu (“The greatest actor who ever lived.” - Orson Welles) as a well-respected shopkeeper who, unbeknownst to his neighbors, is running a front for a ruthless criminal gang. The first of several movies in which Grémillon, who had first established himself as an experimental filmmaker, began to work within established commercial genre forms—in this case, the crime thriller—all while continuing to give the same precedent to the matters of atmosphere and (abnormal) psychology that had marked his earlier works. 

“To come across the films of classic French filmmaker Jean Grémillon is like discovering another country, at once familiar and unaccountably new... THE STRANGE MISTER VICTOR stars the inimitable Raimu, one of France's most formidable actors… The film's mixture of sunlight and shadow, the dark and the comic, is more unsettling than you might expect.” - 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. Grémillon." - The New York Times

“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