Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Maigret tend un piège

1958, France, directed by Jean Delannoy

The first of Gabin's outing as Maigret, and the strongest of the trio -- certainly more distinctive than Gilles Grangier's routine contribution, which used Gabin well but did little more.  Delannoy, by contrast, creates a strong sense of atmosphere, particularly emphasizing the claustrophobia of the corner of Paris being terrorized by the events of the film. More surprising is the mobility of his camera, especially in the early stages of the film -- elegant movements that create neat moments of visual shorthand, while also, on occasion, underpinning the sense of menace felt by the characters. The film's a fine example of Gabin's ability to seamlessly play both sides of the law in this period: there's not a great deal of difference between his Maigret and, say, Max from Touchez pas au grisbi, with both characters elegant, methodical, and willing to pause to savour a decent sandwich.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States