|Index||7 reviews in total|
Filmed I think in Budapest, it has the shabby, faded look of the 50s. Writing, directing and acting are all top-notch. Many respected thespians pass through: Peter Blythe, Edward Petherbridge, Betty Marsden, Toyah Wilcox, Anne Todd - yes, that Anne Todd. Like the Simenon novels, the episodes are thick with atmosphere and explore the seedy realities of life. The characters are not nice middle class people who appreciate classical music and whose children go to good schools. They are a spendthrift playboy in a mouldy chateaux, or a stripper with - not a heart of gold but a few moments of tenderness. They are dentist's assistants, schoolboys, mendacious antique dealers, toyboys, prostitutes. See it if you can. xxxx
Unlike many Maigret fans, I have never read any of Georges Simenon's books. So I never heard of Maigret till one of our PBS channels started showing it on "Mystery!" several years ago. Right away I knew I loved it. This show is so realistic! Michael Gambon is great as Inspector Maigret, and his subordinates and the bad guys are all great characters as well. The cases the Chief Inspector solves are really very interesting. Also the locations and sets make you feel as if you are right there on the case with the Chief Inspector and his men. It's great to sit back and watch him slowly solve a mystery. You can tell that a lot of thought was put into the making of this show. Pity it was only made for 2 seasons. But at least that gives us 12 great episodes to watch. I was able to tape series 2 before our PBS channel stopped playing it. Fortunately it's available on video if you know where to look. I'd rate this at least a 9 on a scale of 10.
The Michael Gambon Maigrets are very good realisations of the Simenon
novels. If you haven't read the books you should know they are less
'whodunnit' than 'whydunnit'. This is what, for my money, gives Simenon
the edge over other crime writers. Uncovering the criminal is almost an
aside to stories of envy, greed, fraud, petty criminality and the
hatreds and resentments in the everyday lives of ordinary people.
"Maigret sets a Trap" is an excellent example of this and it makes a
great final episode for the first series.
The series was filmed in Budapest which makes a very good 1950's Paris (although Maigret worked from 1930 to 1972 in the novels, by which time he would have been about 88) and spares us establishing shots of the Eiffel Tower every two minutes.
My only criticism is that the episodes would have worked better with a slightly longer running time, maybe 80 minutes. This would have given more time for the development of the characters (we need to know their motivations for Simenon's stories to work) and the atmosphere in which Maigret has to work. In 'Maigret Goes to School', for example, everyone in the village is against him. All we get in the film is a few minutes of abuse and antagonism from a couple of characters in the local bar.
Otherwise this is good, enjoyable TV detective work.
Having read most of the short and long Maigret stories and seen a
number of Bruno Cremer's version (French with subtitles), I had looked
forward to this version if only because it did not require me to read
subtitles. But I was very disappointed.
Essentially, the BBC has transformed Maigret into a hard-boiled British detective with none of the subtlety of Georges Simenon's French detective.
Of course they take liberties with the stories, and this is normal and to be expected with TV / movie dramatizations of books, but the dialog is very disappointing and not at all the Maigret of Simenon.
It's not terrible, but Michael Gambon's Maigret is not good either. Better to obtain and watch the Bruno Cremer version, even though it requires you know French or read subtitles.
Yes the sets and costumes are great/historically appropriate, and yes Michael Gambon is a good actor, BUT the BRITISHNESS of this 1992 series, is almost too much...very very strong English regional accents are at odds with the supposed French setting. The acting is actually a bit plodding too, despite the good actors. Perhaps this is a faulty script/direction, but I can't see how the 1992 series got so popular..perhaps it was the BRits watching other Brits and who cares about authenticity of accent or pacing of plot line/direction. Have seen Gambon in many movies, series and even he cannot completely 'save' this from being a bit underwhelming.,..and a bit boring...
This is a splendid series which I have recently obtained on DVD. Memories of when I first watched it seventeen years ago have come flooding back. But so did the irritation over one particular episode - Series 1 Ep 4. Maigret returns to his home village on All Souls Day (2nd November) a day when a priest is allowed to offer three Masses. Here the priest for a requiem Mass is dressed not in black vestments (appropriate for Masses of the dead in the 1950's) but in green vestments and not vestments for a priest but those of a deacon. When so much authenticity is captured in a production it was a pity that woeful ignorance of simple ecclesiastical matters was allowed to have such free rein. If those concerned in production are unsure about church customs then it is usually easy to find out for certain. But, all in all, a great series - delightful to watch and I give it 8 out of 10.
We used to watch this in French in high school! I absolutely loved the days when we'd walk in and be told we got to watch Maigret. They're kinda old, but way interesting, and we almost never knew what was going to happen. The episodes aren't predictable, which makes it all the more interesting. I hate when you know what's going to happen before it does, but I don't recall an instance where that was the case. It's totally worth checking out if you like a good mystery. And they really are great for French classes. I don't think we watched them in French with English subtitles like we did with other movies, but he's a French detective and there are a lot of French words and sites that are helpful to the students. We also used to write summaries of the stories entirely in French, so if you're a teacher, it's a great combination of comprehension and writing. If you decide you like these, or are looking for something similar, try watching Poirot. It's a series based on the stories by Agatha Christie. Same type of thing, but I'm partial to Maigret myself!
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