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Inspector Maigret is traveling to the French countryside to visit his friend, the duchess of Saint-Fiacre. She has received a letter recently stating that she will die soon. A few days ... See full summary »
"Le Dabe" retired many years ago and now he lives in the Tropics where he owns stables and horses. He is a very rich man. He was the king of all money counterfeiters. He is contacted from ... See full summary »
Henri, the Man from Nantes, comes back to his country after a successful stay in the United States, where he was working for Liski, the drug dealer. With the fame of being a tough guy ... See full summary »
Louis Bertain is the owner of a Paris garage which is the front for a robbery gang. He and his accomplices are careful to keep up a civic veneer by day, indulging in criminal activities ... See full summary »
Charles (Jean Gabin), a sixtyish career criminal fresh out of jail, rejects his wife's plan for a quiet life of bourgeois respectability. He enlists a former cellmate, Francis (Alain Delon)... See full summary »
Albert is an inn owner who vowed never to drink again if he and his wife survived the war. They did, and the reformed alcoholic keeps his vow. But times have changed and soon after the war,... See full summary »
Those five are unemployed penniless workers. Together they win 100,000 Francs with the national lottery. Instead of sharing the money, they buy a ruin and build an open-air cafe. But ... See full summary »
André Chatelin is a restaurant owner in Les Halles in Paris. One morning, a girl named Catherine asks to see him. She happens to be the daughter of his estranged wife, Gabrielle, that André... See full summary »
For some time now, women coming home at night have been savagely murdered by a mysterious serial killer. Inspector Lagrume thinks he has found the culprit in the person of Barberot, a local butcher. But Maigret, who takes over the investigation, is not convinced. Deep inside himself, he knows the murderer is still at large. But how to trap him ? Written by
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 Tchaï'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.
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