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 ...
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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 later she does so by an heart attack, but Maigret does not believe in this...Written by
1959...The nouvelle vague is striking.A bunch of young turks is yelling that old fogey gotta go.Among them,the most despised of them all,Jean Delannoy.It will become hip to put disparagement over the par excellence "academic" director.Make way for us ,Godard,Truffaut,Resnais et al!
"Maigret et l'affaire Saint-Fiacre" has worn superbly well.It was restored to favor by French critic Jacques Lacourcelles,ten years ago,quite rightly so.Delannoy may not be an auteur,in the sense of the word you generally admit,but he is a wonderful story teller.He hides behind his characters,he is not a genius of the seven art,but he is a genuine craftsman for sure.
George Simenon's novel,which includes hints at Maigret's childhood is first-rate and Michel Audiard's dialogues are often very funny (There's nothing more to take in this mansion,but the 12.15 train).The black and white cinematography is very effective,and depicts a world collapsing:the fallen aristocracy's represented by an old noble lady with a fondness for gigolos (A moving Valentine Tessier) and her spineless and cynical offspring (Michel Auclair,one of the best actors of his generation).She is killed,in a church during a service ,and Maigret (proof positive that Jean Gabin had great parts after the golden thirties era)investigates.The climax of the movie is the final diner :the captain gathers all his suspects and it's time for rancour and hate between all these men revolving round a once shining now fading star.
A strange feeling of nostalgia lingers after the last shots.Down with the nouvelle vague,and give M.Delannoy the respect he deserves!
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