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In Paris, a gold smuggler is at war with other local gangsters who want piece of the action. Then the mob shows up and makes things worse. Also, an undercover US Treasury Department agent is trying to infiltrate the smuggler's business.
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
Among the less famous movies made by Gabin in his 50s,there are two I love most:Maigret Lays a Trap and The Baron of the Locks;the two have 4 things in common:Gabin,Delannoy,a Simenon adaptation,and Desailly in a supporting role.Maigret Lays a Trap serves also as an access,an introduction to the young Mrs. Girardot's charm and womanhood.
Gabin seems in high spirits and very willing to act and to mold a splendor of an ample role:that of a mammoth police inspector.
The atmosphere is very adequate and fitting.The pace is good,alert,nimbly done.This movie is concise,sharp,practical,each actor is cut out for the part.
Mrs. Girardot was fresh,appetizing,lustful and extremely sexual,she shows finesse and goes far.(Delannoy tasted the womanhood and knew how to make such portraits of women:in The Baron of the Locks,there is the delicious Blanchette Brunoy.It is obvious he had a taste for portraying women.)
"Maigret ..." takes pride in its quartet of actors:Gabin,Mrs. Girardot,Desailly (the director Delannoy would use Desailly again in another Simenon adaptation featuring Gabin:"The Baron of the Locks ") and Ventura in a bit,unimportant part.Hussenot is interesting as "Lagrume". Desailly plays an adipose,slippery, faint-hearted youngster with a psychotic air,a queer customer. Mrs. Girardot is very noticeable and lucent, lurid, luminous.
Maigret tend Un Piège (1958) is the first of the Gabin's "Maigrets",and a relish.Gabin was 54 years when he made this role.Gabin should have made many more such "Maigret" movies,and less trucker roles.The crime movies were seldom honored with an acting so classy.
Jean Delannoy was a very competent,efficient,very pragmatic, intelligent, capable director,and he made some very pleasing Simenon adaptations with Gabin.Delannoy showed up to be a clear-sighted director.(Contrary to what is said by a few,Gabin worked with many good directors,such as Renoir ,Carné,Duvivier,Ophuls,Becker,some of them now despised by nerds.)
I don't seek the Gabin's "Maigrets" for the joys only Simenon's novels can offer;the flicks provide joys of their own.The novels' Maigret is a very different one;Gabin's is tough,brusque,authoritarian,sometimes irascible,gives everybody the ha-ha.This movies are on their own.
Maigret was one of the best Gabin roles,and it is fair that all 3 "Maigret" movies are included in the list of Gabin's 17 "Incontournables". Gabin made one of the best policemen in cinema's history.
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