6.7/10
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Night at the Crossroads (1932)

La nuit du carrefour (original title)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Pierre Renoir ...
Georges Térof ...
Lucas (as G. Terof)
Winna Winifried ...
Else Andersen (as Winna Winfried)
Georges Koudria ...
Carl Andersen (as George Koudria)
Dignimont ...
G.A. Martin ...
Granjean (as Martin)
Michel Duran ...
Jojo
Jean Gehret ...
Emile Michonnet (as Gehret)
Boulicot ...
Un gendarme
Max Dalban ...
Le docteur (as Dalban)
Roger Gaillard ...
Le boucher (as Gaillard)
Jean Mitry ...
Arsène
Jane Pierson ...
Mme Michonnet
...
Guido (as Rabby)
Lucie Vallat ...
Michelle, la femme d'Oscar
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Storyline

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Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

18 April 1932 (France)  »

Also Known As:

La notte dell'incrocio  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Featured in Histoire(s) du cinéma: Les signes parmi nous (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The first filmed Simenon novel and the first Maigret film
15 June 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This dreary film was a bad start for Simenon on the screen. Surprisingly, it was directed by Jean Renoir, who could rise to such heights as a great director, but here sank to unparalleled depths of mediocrity and dullness. It was not as if Renoir was new to directing, for he had already directed several films before this one. So there is no excuse. Because the action of the film largely takes place at night (as the title indicates), the film is literally very dark indeed. The lighting is terrible, and as it was such an early sound film, the sound is not much better. But the greatest disappointment of all is Pierre Renoir, older brother of Jean, in his role of Commissaire (Inspector) Jules Maigret. He is dull, dull, and duller. Many will remember him fondly from the later film LES ENFANTS DU PARADIS. But he was no good as a Maigret. He gives the character no personality whatsoever. A golem could have done a better job of it. Those of us who appreciate Jean Gabin and Bruno Cremer as Maigret can only sink into a slough of despond at the sight of this lifeless first screen incarnation of our hero. The Danish actress Winna Winifried, in her first screen appearance, attempts to inject some mystery into the film by her extraordinarily louche and languid performance, a deeply weird portrayal which if better exploited and directed could have worked very well indeed. She ceased work in 1940 with her seventh film, and as far as IMDb is concerned, vanished from the world after that. I wonder if the Danes could tell us more. She must have fled the Nazi invasion of Paris in that year, and who knows what might have become of her after that. She had made four French films and three British ones, none of which seems to be particularly known today, and only one has been reviewed by a single specialist reviewer, except for this one, which has been revived recently. As for the story, it is a rather meandering and feeble one, involving the smuggling of cocaine in automobile tyres. Perhaps that is why the action appears to go round in circles. Jacques Becker (father of Jean Becker), who three years later was to begin his directing career, was Production Manager. A third member of the Renoir family also worked on this film, Claude Renoir, who was focus puller. Three years later, he commenced his career as cinematographer, and only retired in 2010, after 86 films in that job. Truly the Renoir family have made their mark on French culture. Claude Renoir's most spectacular success as a cinematographer was probably, and most appropriately (considering who his grandfather was), the magnificent film about another famous painter, LE MYSTÈRE DE PICASSO (1956), directed by the brilliant Henri-Georges Cluzot. He was also the cinematographer for his brother Jean's magical and evocative film THE RIVER (1951), a classic made all the more memorable by Claude Renoir's fine work in capturing the atmosphere of India on location. It is such a pity that all these talented people could not have done a better job on this particular film, but there is no use pretending that they succeeded, because they did not. I agree with another reviewer who says that this film is 'awkward, amateurish and even inept'.


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