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Willy Ferriere is dead broke and his mistress costs a lot. One day, he says in a pub that he would give 100,000 francs to get rid of his wealthy aunt. Someone lets him know it's a deal. The aunt is murdered, and a poor chap is manipulated to be the perfect suspect. But Superintendant Maigret feels something is wrong. Written by
...but not as good as "Panique" !There are several good sequences but by and large ,the movie lacks focus,intensity,unity.It's like an orchestra where the musicians play different tunes.Valery Inkijinoff,for instance gives an intense portrayal of this terminally ill man who has got nothing to lose,and Alexandre Rignault is equally good as the poor idiot caught into a trap he does not understand.The couple ,on the other hand,has no real presence and is in direct contrast to their two accomplices.Harry Baur is a not very good Maigret.You'd better see him in Duvivier's "Poil de Carotte" and "David Golder".
But there are impressive scenes:the idiot entering the house and discovering the murder;all the sequences that feature Inkijinoff; the final scenes ,which,although they lack mastery ,predate the terrifying conclusion of "Voici le temps des assassins" :no room for a happy end! The 1930-1935 ,in spite of successful flicks such as "Poil de Carotte" and "David Golder",was an experimental time for Duvivier.Hit-and-miss best describes his art which would come into full bloom in the second half of the thirties,and continue (whether the Nouvelle Vague buffs like it or not) through the forties and fifties.
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