Maigret tend un piège (Maigret Sets a Trap). 1958. France. Directed by Jean Delannoy. Written by Delannoy, Rodolphe-Maurice Artaud, Michel Audiard, from a novel by Georges Simenon. With Jean Gabin, Annie Girardot, Olivier Hussenot, Jeanne Boitel, Lino Ventura. In French; English subtitles. DCP. 119 min.
Jean Gabin secured his late career resurgence with his distinctive portrayal of Georges Simenon’s beloved Inspector Maigret, a police detective with a world-weary attitude and aching feet who relies more on psychology than physical clues to solve crimes. Ventura makes a token appearance as one of Maigret’s men, in a film otherwise dominated by an early performance by Annie Girardot, who would become France’s most important female star of the 1970s. Director Jean Delannoy, doomed to live in critical infamy when François Truffaut denounced him as an exemplar of the fusty French “tradition of quality,” contributes some atmospheric views of the then-crumbling Marais neighborhood.