Greatest Film Scenes
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Algiers (1938)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Algiers (1938)

In director John Cromwell's romantic drama - a story of intrigue and romance, a shot-for-shot remake of the original film Pépé le Moko (1937, Fr.) with Jean Gabin:

  • crafty international jewel thief Pepe Le Moko (Oscar-nominated Charles Boyer, in his most famous role) had fled to the notorious, mazelike Casbah district in French Algiers (a safe hiding zone or native quarter in the modern city of Algiers with dark twisting alleyways). His goal in self-imposed exile was to escape from pursuing North African police, led by Inspector Slimane (Joseph Calleia), who knew he couldn't be apprehended there: ("To arrest him in the Casbah, distinguished colleague, would be simple. To get him out, would be impossible").
  • Parisian Commissioner Janvier (Paul Harvey) had been pursuing Pepe for two years after he escaped from France, but knew Pepe couldn't be arrested if he remained in the Casbah
Pepe's First Views of Beautiful Gabrielle "Gaby" (Hedy Lamarr)
Romantic Scene Between Pepe and Gaby
  • during an attempted arrest of Pepe in the Casbah, beautiful, bejewelled, sultry Parisian tourist Gaby (Hedy Lamarr in her American film debut), who was vacationing with her wealthy businessman fiancée Giraux (Robert Grieg), was caught in the gunfire. Gaby happened to meet Pepe who immediately fell into a doomed romance with the femme fatale
  • there were a few romantic love scenes between fugitive jewel thief Pepe le Moko and the beautifully seductive adventuress Gaby in the Casbah, with just a few embraces, a dance, a kiss, and lots of give-and-take dialogue of intriguing affection about Pepe's love of Paris - a symbol of his longing for freedom: (Pepe: "You're all silk and you jingle when you walk and with all that chichi you make me think of the subway. Isn't that funny?"); he also took a fetishistic interest in her glittering jewelry
  • in the film's conclusion, Gaby was used to tempt Pepe out of the Casbah, to risk his life by seeing her; he foolishly left town to see Gaby on her steamship about to sail to France, and was arrested before being able to speak to her, after seeing her through one of the ship's salon windows
  • as he was being taken away, the handcuffed Pepe asked to wait until the ship sailed away, but then spotted Gaby on the deck; he vainly called out to her, broke away from the authorities, and began running toward her on the dock, where he was fatally shot in the back by one of Slimane's men - a detective (Gino Corrado); as Pepe died in Slimane's arms, Slimane apologized for the shooting, because it looked like he was going to escape. Pepe replied: "And so I have, my friend."

The "Casbah" in Algiers

Conclusion: Gaby (Hedy Lamarr) on the Deck of a Steamship Sailing Back to France

Handcuffed Pepe (Charles Boyer) Calling Out to Gaby

Pepe Dying in Inspector Slimane's (Joseph Calleia) Arms


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