Nuits de feu (1937)
aka: Nights of Fire
A film directed by Marcel L'Herbier

Genre: Drama

Film Review

This fairly mundane historical melodrama is a world apart from the great works of cinema that earned Marcel L'Herbier his reputation as one of the leading figures of the French avant-garde of the 1920s, silent masterpieces such as L'Homme du large (1920), Feu Mathias Pascal (1926) and L'Argent (1928).
Nuits de feu 1937 pic 1
Having neither the astonishing artistic innovation or dramatic scale of L'Herbier's earlier films, Nuits de feu is a comparatively low-key work which would be easy to overlook were it not for some fine performances from an impressive cast. Victor Francen and Gaby Morlay, two of the actors most strongly associated with the French film melodrama, are on fine form and bring an emotional realism to the film that makes up for its complacency in other departments. L'Herbier's half-hearted direction and a fairly lacklustre script fail to deliver the power and humanity of the Leo Tolstoy play on which the narrative is based (The Living Corpse, previously adapted for cinema by Fyodor Otsep in 1929), although the film is beautifully shot in a way that prefigures the work of the French poetic realists (Jean Grémillon, Marcel Carné, Julien Duvivier), adding a sense of dark foreboding and irony to the proceedings. In common with most of L'Herbier's films of the sound era, this one fails to leave much of a lasting impression.
The above article was written for and is protected by copyright. No part of it should be reproduced in any medium without the author's permission.

User Comments

Click here to display user comments or add a comment of your own


19th Century Russia. State prosecutor Fedor Andreiev is presiding over the trial of a man who murdered his wife's lover...
[Read more...]

Film Credits

Directed by Marcel L'Herbier
Starring: Gaby Morlay, Victor Francen, George Rigaud, Madeleine Robinson, Sinoël, Mia Slavenska, Paule Andral, Gabriel Signoret, Jane Loury, Odette Talazac
[Read more...]

Related articles

2015 films
2015 film releases

Read more about the French films to be released in 2015...

1920s films
The Silent Era

Before the advent of sound France was a world leader in cinema. Find out more about this overlooked era.

1930s films
The Golden Age

Discover the best French films of the 1930s, a decade of cinematic delights...

To buy or watch this film

The film Nuits de feu may be available on amazon via the following links:
Visit our on-line stores to browse the latest films out on DVD and books relating to cinema.
Any purchases will allow us to maintain and grow