This Hollywood remake of the French Pepe le Moko adheres so slavishly to its source that it utilizes stock footage from the original film, and even picked its actors on the basis of their resemblance to the French cast.
Contrary to legend, star Charles Boyer never says Come wizz me to zee Casbah; as master criminal Pepe le Moko, he's already in the Casbah, a crook-controlled safe harbor which protects Pepe from the French authorities.
Pepe's friendly enemy, police inspector Joseph Calleia, treats his pursuit of Pepe like a chess game, patiently waiting for his opponent to make that one wrong move.
The ever-careful Pepe has the misfortune to fall hopelessly in love with tourist Hedy Lamarr (in her first American film). A combination of events, including the betrayal of Pepe by his castaway lover Sigrid Gurie and Hedy's tearful return to her ship when she is misinformed that Pepe is killed, lures the hero/villain into the open.
Arrested by Calleia, Pepe begs for one last glance at his departing sweetheart. At this point in the French version, Pepe cheated the hangman by killing himself; this would never do in Production Code-dominated Hollywood, so Algiers contrives to have Pepe shot while trying to escape. Algiers was remade in 1948 as a musical, Casbah, starring Tony Martin.