DVD Review: MOONTIDE

Fox Home Entertainment

Release Date: September 2nd, 2008
MSRP: $9.99

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Jean Gabin, Ida Lupino, Thomas Mitchell, Claude Raines

Jean Gabin stars as Bobo, a Southern California dockworker that lives a reckless, carefree life. He also enjoyed his drink, and that causes him some problems.
One evening, Bobo gets into an argument with an old seadog. The next morning, said man is found dead, with the cause being strangulation. Did Bobo do it? He is not too sure as he can’t remember much about the evening. This gives Bobo (I feel kind of stupid typing that name), some pause.
Next night Bobo comes across Anne (Ida Lupino) when he saves her from an attempted suicide by drowning. The two develop a connection and open a bait shop together.
Now this would seem be the start of a lovely story, but there is another character, Bobo’s buddy Tiny (another fantastic name), played by Thomas Mitchell. Tiny might know what happened that fateful night, but he keeps quiet uses it to his advantage.
Prior to Bobo meeting/saving Anne, he and Tiny were about to skip town. So when Bobo and Anne start spending time together, those plans are scrapped. Tiny is not happy with this, as he wants to get out of town (He might also have been in love with Bobo, but I can’t prove that).
Either way, he is a creepy dude and one I certainly would not want hanging around. He soon starts to work on ruining things between Anne and Bobo and there is the film’s conflict.
Rounding out the cast is Claude Raines. He plays Nutso, a relatively minor character that occasionally tosses out a bit of wisdom, but is generally wasted here.
Despite some excellent acting, the film is itself is only so-so. Solid, but nothing that would elevate this to the level of “classic” in my mind. It seems to plod along at a steady pace, but lacks the intensity of the stars themselves. The cast pulled me in, but the director did little once he had me.

For extras, we a get a commentary track featuring Foster Hirsch. Hirsch does a fine job here, talking about the story behind the film (Which is almost as interesting as the film itself). I find myself really looking forward to these tracks on the old releases, as they offer a look at a Hollywood long before my time. Forster does a nice job of taking me there.
Turning the Tide: The Ill-starred making of Moontide clocks in at twenty-five minutes and talking about the production of the movie. It features comments from Eddie Muller, Robert Osborne and Aubrey Solomon, three people that know their noir. Fritz Lang was the original director, but left shortly after filming started. This is just one of the many interesting tidbits this documentary touches on.
There are also some photo galleries that include production stills, posters and concept art.
Jeremy Lynch
For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.