In the second year of the foreign-language Oscar category, the five nominees were: Fellini’s “The Nights of Cabiria” from Italy, which won, “The Devil Came at Night” from the Federal Republic of Germany, “Gates of Paris” from France, “Mother India” from India, and “Nine Lives” from Norway.
In Rene Clair’s more serious than the usual, character-driven drama, “Gates of Paris” (“Port de Lilias”), the great actor Pierre Brasseur plays Juju, an aimless, layabout alcoholic, who hides a fugitive murderer named Barbier (Henri Vidal) from the police
When his identity is discovered by the heroine Maria (Dany Carel), Barbier betrays the girl, which pushes the otherwise easy-going Juju into an extreme action of murder.
The famous chansonier George Brassens makes a rare appearance in the film.
Rene Clair (1898-1981) had achieved fame in the early 1930s with a number of classics, such as “A Nous La Liberte” and “July 14.” “A Nous La Liberte” was nominated for the Interior Decoration Oscar, by Lazare Meerson, but didn’t win.
During WWII, he was among a handful of French directors, who emigrated to Hollywood, where he made “The Flame of New Orleans” and the cult item, “I Married a Witch” (1942), among others.