The 1938 Algiers contains themes—the criminal as captive (without being in prison), the destruction of human ties, ultimate loss. But it doesn’t have originality, for the film is an American remake of the French Pepe le Moko, which I’ve never seen. Pepe is a jewel thief hidden away in unfamiliar Algiers and, original or not, his story is indubitably interesting. So is the dialogue, of which there is a lot, but not at the expense of action.
This is Hedy Lamarr‘s first U.S. picture; she’s the woman Pepe falls for (not Sigrid Gurie). Her acting, however, is undistinguished, unlike that of Charles Boyer as the jewel thief. John Cromwell‘s direction can be curious and canny. . . Yep, it’s a remake, but Algiers, filmed in Algiers, is supremely worth seeing.