Walls of Malapaga, The (1949): Rene Clement’s French Winner of Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Starring Jean Gabin and Isa Miranda

Rene Clement directed The Walls of Malapaga (French: Au-delà des grilles, which translates into Beyond the Gates), a French-Italian drama starring Jean Gabin, Isa Miranda and Andrea Checchi.

The Walls of Malapaga

Original French film poster

The screenplay by Cesare Zavattini, Suso Cecchi d’Amico and Alfredo Guarini was adapted by Jean Aurenche and Pierre Bost.

Production values are polished: The music score was by Roman Vlad and the cinematography by Louis Page.

Gabin plays Pierre Arrignon, a French criminal on the run.

In Genoa, he meets and falls in love with an intriguing woman named Marta Manfredini (Isa Miranda).

The Walls of Malapaga won an honorary Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, before a competitive category was established in that realm in 1956.

Both Clément and Isa Miranda won awards at the 1949 Cannes Film Fest, where the film played.

The film is set in Italy, and the dialogue is mostly in French.

The movie was extremely popular at the box-office, with over 2 million admissions in France.


Directed by René Clément
Produced by Alfredo Guarini
Written by Jean Aurenche, Pierre Bost (adaptation and dialogue), Cesare Zavattini, Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Alfredo Guarini (screenplay)
Music by Roman Vlad
Cinematography Louis Page
Edited by Mario Serandrei

Distributed by MGM (1949 Italian release)
Films International (1950 US release)

Release date: France: November 16, 1949
United States: March 26, 1950

Running time: France: 95 mins; Italy: 104 minutes, US: 89 minutes