- The ultimate Maigret screen adaptation 8/18/2004 12:00:00 AM by guy-bellinger
Alongside Molinaro's "La Mort de Belle", the best adaptation of a Simenon story for the big screen.
Helmer Delannoy proves a past master at creating a stifling atmosphere ( night scenes, a hot stormy weather, a heady melody pervading the story ), managing to make the tension rise and swell regularly until it explodes in a triple climax ( Maurice's interrogation, the confrontation of Maurice's wife and mother, the final attempt to murder Mauricette ). So, when the rain finally starts falling in the final seconds of the movie, it does as much good to bulky, weary Gabin as it does to the tense viewer.
Of course, the film benefits from a great interpretation : Jean Gabin gives life to his determined-shrewd-exhausted "commissaire" while Jean Desailly shines as the poor but dangerous Maurice whose boyhood has been prolonged by the misguided love of his mother ( Lucienne Boga?rt, perfect ). And Annie Girardot plays subtly and with welcome restraint the loving wife of a monster.
Sure, Misraki's music and song are haunting and the camera-work is sleek, but what actually makes this film a major work is that the authors( R.M.Arlaud, Delannoy and Audiard ) are true to the spirit of Simenon : disillusioned with human nature but sympathetic with those who are its victims, however monstrous they may appear to society.
- MAIGRET SETS A TRAP (Jean Delannoy, 1958) *** 11/22/2006 12:00:00 AM by Bunuel1976
Despite his occasional appearance in the films of major directors like Max Ophuls, Jacques Becker and Jean Renoir, from the 1950s onwards Jean Gabin seemed content to rely simply on his effortlessly charismatic screen persona and elevate an apparently interminable succession of old-fashioned potboilers which, while undeniably enjoyable in themselves, now seem like a regrettable waste of this monumental French film star. Nevertheless, I try not to miss any of his films when they crop up on Italian or French Cable TV channels and, for what it's worth, I've always been on the look-out for at least two of his late 50s films - Claude Autant-Lara's LOVE IS MY PROFESSION (1958; with Brigitte Bardot) and the film under review here.
Anyway, Gabin is perfectly cast as the world-weary Police Inspector who is pondering retirement when the re-emergence of an old nemesis - a serial-killer who stabs lonely brunettes coming home late at night - taunts him back into action with a supremely clever plan to trap the killer, hence the film's title. The film also features in a supporting role the actor who, for all intents and purposes, replaced Gabin in French filmgoers' minds as the brooding action hero, Lino Ventura, but it's Annie Girardot (as a neglected but ultimately self-sacrificing wife) and Jean Desailly (as her impotent, mother-fixated artist husband) who leave the best impression in the crowded supporting cast.
Jean Gabin would go on to appear as Inspector Maigret in 2 subsequent films - MAIGRET ET L' AFFAIRE SAINT-FIACRE (1959; which I've caught up with a couple of years ago) and MAIGRET VOIS ROUGE (1963) - and work a further 5 times with director Delannoy (including the afore-mentioned second Maigret film); interestingly enough, Delannoy himself would abandon his own artistic aspirations shown earlier in two major French films of the 1940s - L'ETERNEL RETOUR (1943) and LA SYMPHONIE PASTORALE (1946) - to concentrate on modest genre offerings (of which MAIGRET SETS A TRAP is the best-known and probably best overall as well) for the rest of his career.
Inspector Maigret is celebrated French pulp writer Georges Simenon's most famous literary creation and had previously been portrayed on the screen by Pierre Renoir in one of his brother Jean's most elusive films, NIGHT AT THE CROSSROADS (1932), and also by the great Charles Laughton in Burgess Meredith's intriguing directorial outing, THE MAN IN THE EIFFEL TOWER (1950) - neither of which I've watched alas - and would go on to be impersonated by a variety of formidable character actors among them Rupert Davies, Gino Cervi and Michael Gambon for TV!
- Mystery, suspense, intrigue with terrific performance Jean Gavin-Maigret investigating the murderer's identity 7/17/2008 12:00:00 AM by ma-cortes
As always, this film occurs in Paris, there happen a murders series. One the night of the killing a butcher is the suspect, detective Maigret(the great Jean Gavin) becomes involved into investigation and pulls off a cat and mouse game with the killer. Maigret leaving false clues and a false murderer. Meanwhile is developed a pursuit through the Paris slums, in order to chase the killer, getting a button. Appear new suspects, as a strange woman(Annie Girardot, one of the most known French actress of the 60s) and her spouse(Jean Desailly, recently deceased). Maigret is helped by his underlings(Lino Ventura, in very secondary role , among them). The obstinate inspector winds up pitting rival against each other in order to destroy him in a stirring interrogation.
The picture displays thriller,tension, twists plots and is quite entertaining , though some moments is slow moving. Interesting and exciting battle of wits between intelligent detective and quirky villain. The story explores the dynamics of pathological behaviour and very much in the style of psychoanalytic descriptions fitting fairly to George Simenon novels. Casting is frankly outstanding. Jean Gavin as stubborn detective is top-notch, Jean Desailly as maniac-depressive husband is magnificent, he's tremendously affected into the deeps of human desperation. Annie Girardot as a predatory and manipulating beauty woman and Lino Ventura who was one of the best French actors from the 60s and 70s. Awesome cinematography by Page who reflects splendidly the Paris streets, though mostly made in studios. The motion picture is rightly directed by Jean Delannoy. The film is based on George Simenon legendary detective who is adapted at several cinematic rendition and TV series. As Maigret was played by Basil Sidney( The lost life,TV, 59) Gino Cervi(Maigret in Pigalle,67), Rupert Davies(series from 60s), Richard Harris(TV, 1988), Michael Gambon(TV,1993), Sergio Castellitto(2004). But specially by Jean Gavin who also played 'Maigret and the St Fiacre case(59)'. In Hollywood(1949) was realized by Burguess Meredith 'The man on the Eiffel tower'with Charles Laughton as Maigret. Rating : Good and worth watch checking out. The movie will like to Jean Gabin fans and intrigue lovers but contains a highly suspenseful.
- Tiger hunt has nuance 2/23/2012 12:00:00 AM by oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx
Jean Gabin plays Inspector Maigret here in a role that I find him quite matched to. I always figured him as fitting kindly roles after watching him play gangsters so often (the French have had an ambivalent, occasionally adulatory disposition towards gangsters judging from their domestic movie output, which perhaps makes these roles for Gabin less of a clang for them - perhaps this is similar to our English views of Robin Hood and Dick Turpin!).
I came to this movie via an interest in director Jean Delannoy. Even though it appears to be a very commercial project he's helming on behalf of a studio, rather than a more obviously auteur-driven piece such as "L'Eternel Retour", there are perhaps significant parallels with his other work. Delannoy, I believe, was preoccupied with matters Oedipal, definitely by family conflict of the dysfunctional variety, and you can see this, for example, in "La Symphonie Pastorale", where a father and son both fall in love with the same woman, also in "L'Eternel Retour" with the damaged Achille, spoiled by his parents, and in "Macao, enfer de jeu", where Ying Tcha?'s entire life is concealed from the daughter he dotes on.
Whilst Maigret Sets a Trap is about, "la chasse au tigre", or a tiger hunt, with the Marais killer being the tiger, there's also a story of inter-generational abuse that's powerful and fascinating. I felt I learnt several lessons whilst watching the movie, particularly about the power of jealousy to provoke extravagant paranoias (under which lie quite delicate realities) and how the truth is often more human than you think, also about temperance (Maigret makes a joke about being unable to obtain attractive partners), and appearances. I'm fascinated about private versus public realities, ever since seeing Paul Klee's beautiful series of "Der Komiker" ("The Comedian") etchings as a teenager. These show men wearing masks that look like faces, and you can see the real, quite different, faces behind. In this movie there's a huge divide between persona and the repressed and crippled personalities behind them.
Today's audiences may find that Jean Desailly (Marcel Maurin) overacts, but I think Delannoy is far cleverer than is often given credit for, and provides his own commentary on the style of acting in the movie, when Maigret is at pains to instruct a con on how to act to the press.
I think I fell in love with this movie, because I was never really sure where it was going, and there's some dirty thoughts to be had if you get inside the paranoia. There's also not many movies where you have such a human detective, who even conducts a late night interview with his undone belt surrounding a bulging belly. The ending is quite iconic in its own way, and rounded off a charming watch.
- Sweaty August nights in Paris 8/18/2014 12:00:00 AM by bob998
This year was devoted to deepening my appreciation of Simenon's works; this is the best film version of his novels. From the first scene, with a nervous Insp. Lagrume trying to keep abreast of a violent confrontation in the Place des Vosges--the fourth killing by a sadistic serial killer--to the ending with Lagrume again trying to curry favour with an exasperated Maigret, this film held me spellbound. The acting is superb: Gabin has his best role since the glory days with Renoir in the 30's, Desailly is extraordinary as the wretched Maurin, pulled by mother and wife both and hating it, Annie Girardot is wonderfully sensual and determined as the young wife, and Lucienne Bogaert plays the mother from Hell with the greatest skill. The hatred the two women have for each other is palpable. All the supporting players turn in fine work, especially Gerard Sety as Jojo the gigolo who manages to stir the emotions of Yvonne Maurin, for a while at least.
It seems there is no general Region 1 release for this film; that's a real shame. I found a cheap knockoff without special features in a cutout bin in Montreal. Please let's have a proper reissue.