In Paris, a down and out medical student Johann Radek (Franchot Tone) is paid by Bill Kirby (Robert Hutton) to murder his wealthy aunt. A knife grinder (Burgess Meredith) is suspected, but Radek keeps taunting the police until they realize that he is the killer. The police and Maigret (Charles Laughton) are led on chases through the streets and over the rooftops of Paris and finally up the girders of the Eiffel Tower.Written by
Herman Seifer <email@example.com>
Interesting If Uneven Overall; Has An Exciting Finale
The exciting finale is by far the best part of this movie, which is an adaptation of one of Georges Simenon's crime stories featuring Inspector Maigret. Most of the movie is rather uneven, although it does have some interesting moments. Except for Maigret, who is played by Charles Laughton, most of the characters never really come to life, which keeps the story from being as involving as it could have been.
The Parisian cinematography helps sustain it through some of its murkier stretches, and it is likely that it might have been more impressive visually in its original state. Most or all of the prints on home video or television airings now have most of the color washed out of them, giving it a drab appearance that probably does not do justice to the original camera work.
The story has some interesting features in itself, with a murder plot involving several persons in one capacity or other, and Maigret engaged in a battle of wits with the killer, leading up to the finale on the Eiffel Tower. This lengthy sequence features some well-chosen views, and at times they create a dizzying feeling of suspense. Director Burgess Meredith's technique is unexceptional in the rest of the movie, but in this sequence it works quite well, and of course it had to overcome the technical challenges involved without the aid of computer imagery.
Most of the movie is really of interest only for some scenery, the curiosity value, and perhaps for the cast, but the exciting finale makes up for a lot of its weaknesses. If nothing else, the finale is worth watching for its own sake.
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