Moontide is a 1942 romantic crime drama, some say an early noir, starring French actor Jean Gabin and English actor Ida Lupino. It's based on a book by actor Willard Robertson but the story has been tamed by the censors of the day. Willard has 145 credits as an actor on the IMDb, he started in films in 1924 and stopped when he died in 1948 at the age of 62. I've seen some of the films on his list but I don't have any recollection of him in them. Even his picture on the IMDb doesn't look familiar. The screenplay was written by John O'Hara and an uncredited Nunnally Johnson. Fritz Lang started directing lasted less than three weeks and left. Archie Mayo took over and finished the picture.
I had recently seen Jean Gabin in a couple of Inspector Maigret movies from 1958 and 1959. I really enjoyed those. He's 38 when he plays Bobo, the world weary Frenchman who's somehow wound up in this small southern California fishing village. Gabin is good int he role, and he's working with several good character actors. Thomas Mitchell plays Tiny, Bobo's pal, a weak man and a man who's trouble. He has a bit of a hold over Bobo and that's going to smash things up a bit before the end of the movie. Claude Rains plays Nutsy, he checks doors and hangs around the bar. He turns out to be the best pal Bobo ever had. The two are walking back from the bar when they hear some yelling down by the beach. A woman has walked into the sea. Jerome Cowan, Ralph Byrd and Victor Sen Yung were names I knew.
Bobo rescues Ida Lupino and saves her from being arrested by lying to the police. Ida was 24 at the time and she'd appeared in several British films before coming to America. She made a big hit with the public in the 1940 Raoul Walsh film They Drive By Night. That's a movie with Humphrey Bogart and George Raft as a pair of truck driving brothers. I should have a look for it. I don't think I've seen it, it's not on My Watched Movie List, but who knows.
Bobo brings her to the place he's staying, the Live Bait shop along the break water, and she winds up staying there. The pair start an odd relationship and there's one hurdle after another. That picture above is a screen cap from the film. I love the look of the place. Strictly from afar though, not a place I would want to live.
The Wikipedia says the movie didn't do too well, that's also repeated on the commentary, but I really enjoyed it. In more recent years critics have been more kind to the movie. I liked the story, the script is pretty good and the characters interesting. Often it takes a while for the public to catch up to a film. Sometimes a lot of people have to die.
I listened to the commentary right after the film was over and then watched the 26 minute making of. All time well spent. I'd recommend it.