Panique. 1946. France. Directed by Julien Duvivier. Written by Charles Spaak and Duvivier, based on the novel Mr. Hire’s Engagement by Georges Simenon. With Michel Simon, Viviane Romance, Paul Bernard. DCP. Restored from a nitrate interpositive by TF1 Droits Audiovisuels at Digimage. In French; English subtitles. 91 min.
In the Paris suburb of Villejuif, the odd habits of Michael Simon’s aloof Monsieur Hire (né “Hirovitch”) raise the suspicions of both the local gossips and the police, after the body of a middle-aged woman is found near the town square. “Seeing it today in a beautifully modulated print, with Lenny Borger’s lucid and colloquial subtitles, should send shivers through audiences already worried about mob rule, enforced conformity, and a willingness to pin blame on anyone different” (Michael Sragow).