Le Jour Se Leve is another of the series of psychological studies in which French directors specialize. An otherwise excellent theme is marred by some basic errors of psychology which a more careful study of the human character would have avoided.
Directed by Marcel Carne and bringing together several of the big names of the French cinema – Jean Gabin, Jules Berry and Arletty – the tale is a cutback pictured in Gabin’s mind of Berry. The police come to arrest him, but he locks himself in his apartment determined to resist. They finally close in on him at daybreak. While barricaded in his apartment, Gabin reviews the events leading to his rival’s violent death.
The story is excellently conceived and planned. Gabin is an honest, hard-working laborer who commits a crime which is morally acceptable but which might have been avoided if the girl had made a simple explanation. Jacqueline Laurent is miscast as Francoise. A girl with a more sophisticated appearance would have fitted into the role better, as she has something of the coquette beneath the veneer of sentimentality and sweetness.
The action is slow and serves to emphasize Gabin’s slow comprehension of the situation. The story is intelligently broken up by returning to the besieged apartment on several occasions.
Arletty and Berry are at their best. As a woman of the world, without illusions and thankful for the interlude in which she was his mistress, Arletty does a realistic piece of acting. Berry gives one of his best performances.
Photography is excellent with numerous angle shots of more than passing interest. The score is appropriate and serves to emphasize the long, tense siege against the police.