Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Archie Mayo|
|Produced by||Mark Hellinger|
|Screenplay by||John O'Hara|
|Based on||the novel Moontide
by Willard Robertson
|Music by||David Buttolph
Cyril J. Mockridge
|Cinematography||Charles G. Clarke|
|Edited by||William Reynolds|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
Moontide is a 1942 American drama film noir directed by Archie Mayo and Fritz Lang, although Lang was uncredited when the film was released. The screenplay was written by John O'Hara and Nunnally Johnson (also uncredited) and based on the novel written by Willard Robertson (Moontide). The production features Jean Gabin, Ida Lupino, Thomas Mitchell and Claude Rains.
The film tells about a man who fears he has committed a murder when he was drunk.
- Jean Gabin as Bobo
- Ida Lupino as Anna
- Thomas Mitchell as Tiny
- Claude Rains as Nutsy
- Jerome Cowan as Dr. Frank Brothers
- Helene Reynolds as Woman on boat
- Ralph Byrd as Rev. Wilson
- Victor Sen Yung as Takeo
- Chester Gan as Henry Hirota
- Robin Raymond as Mildred
- Arthur Aylesworth as Pop Kelly
- Arthur Hohl as Jennings
- Ralph Dunn as Policeman
When the film was first released, Bosley Crowther, film critic for The New York Times, questioned the direction of the film, especially its focus on actor Jean Gabin, writing, "But all of them need much more than a vague and irresolute script, much more than synthetic scenery and manufactured moods. Director Archie Mayo hasn't brought them into contact with real life. He has expended most of his energy in bringing the audience into contact with Mr. Gabin. And Moontide is too heavy a burden to be carried entirely by him, even though he is Charles Boyer from the other side of the railroad tracks."
More recently, film critic Dave Kehr (writing for the same New York newspaper) wrote, "Moontide, ... provides an illuminating link to one of the frequently overlooked sources of noir: the movement known as 'poetic realism', which flourished in France from the mid-1930s until the onslaught of war ... a rootless, hard-drinking French sailor, Bobo (Gabin), achieves a tentative domesticity operating a bait shack with Anna (Ida Lupino), a waif he has rescued from a suicide attempt. The story is so much in the foggy, claustrophobic, doom-laden spirit of poetic realism that at times it seems almost a parody of it. Fate is present in the form of Tiny (Thomas Mitchell), a blackmailer with knowledge of a murder that Bobo might have committed. A kindlier metaphysical force is represented by Claude Rains, playing a waterfront philosopher with the unfortunate name Nutsy."
When the DVD was released in 2008, critic David Mermelstein, writing for Variety, wrote, "A twisted romance set among waterfront lowlifes, the b&w pic resonated with neither critics nor auds, though as this DVD debut makes clear, there seems every reason to hope cineastes may now embrace it for what is always was: a keenly observed, highly atmospheric film distinguished by several superb performances and a captivating, if quotidian, mise-en-scene. Solid extras like a full commentary track and meaty 'making-of' featurette should only help raise its standing."
Film critic Dennis Schwartz questioned the possible impact of replacing Fritz Lang as director of the production just three weeks into the shoot. He wrote, "The original director Fritz Lang had trouble relating to star Jean Gabin and was replaced by veteran studio filmmaker Archie Mayo (Bordertown/The Petrified Forest/Four Sons), who directs without inspiration this mushy Hollywood romantic drama posing as film noir. The routine pic remains only so-so despite looking fine and benefiting from stellar performances by acclaimed French actor Jean Gabin, in his first Hollywood flick, and the always reliable Ida Lupino..."
- Academy Award: Nominated - Oscar - Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Charles G. Clarke; 1943.
- Moontide at the TCM Movie Database.
- Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, April 30, 1942. Accessed: July 16, 2013.
- Kehr,Dave,. The New York Times film review, September 1, 2008; accessed July 6, 2013.
- Mermelstein, David. Variety, DVD review, September 2, 2008; accessed July 6, 2013.
- Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, January 27, 2011. Accessed: July 6, 2013.
- Moontide at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Moontide at the Internet Movie Database
- Moontide at AllMovie
- Moontide at the TCM Movie Database
- Moontide information site and DVD review at DVD Beaver (includes images)
- Moontide film scenes on YouTube