At Home, BluRay/DVD Reviews

MAIGRET AND THE ST. FIACRE CASE (KINO/LORBER)

By • Jan 3rd, 2018 •

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Maigret et l’affaire Saint-Fiacre (original title)

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BluRay review by Roy Frumkes

This film is almost twenty minutes shorter than the previous year’s INSPECTOR MAIGRET SETS A TRAP, and Gabin is at least ten pounds chubbier.  The first installment is a bit raunchier, dealing with a sexual serial killer, and it may in fact be the better of the two.  But it also has a few less appealing casting decisions, and a few more farcical directorial choices (eg., a police official who has a cold and keeps sneezing. Cheap gag.)  I’m not dismissing the film.  I liked it.  There are some remarkable camera positions, it’s prime middle-aged Gabin, and it’s worth owning.  But the follow-up, for my taste, is more consistent.

A few words about using different composers on the films.  I have nothing against Paul Misraki.  The man who scored LE DOULOS, LES BONNES FEMMES, LES COUSINES…and AND GOD CREATED WOMAN has my respect.  It’s just that Jean Prodromides composed one of my all-time favorite scores.  I can’t get enough of ET MOURIR AVEC PLAISIR, which I own on 45rpm (and on DVD, obtained from Germany) [When is it coming out in the US on home format – hint…hint…KINO] And he also scored SALOME, a sexy TV ballet starring Ludmilla Tcherina which I was lucky enough to catch on WNET a life-time ago.  When I finally met Ms. Tcherina, she couldn’t believe I’d actually seen it.

There was a third Maigret installment some years later, which was poorly reviewed, and apparently wasn’t considered worthy of joining forces with this two-separate-disc release.

Maigret regrets not being able to save the life of an old flame, now the Duchess of Saint-Fiacre, who sends for him after she’s been warned anonymously that she will soon die an unnatural death.  Despite keeping a watchful eye on her, Maigret is unable to prevent the prediction from being fulfilled.  It then remains for him to figure out how and why.

Gabin is just so smooth and easy-going, yet completely commands the frame, even when his back is turned.  I’ll bet he loved being able to repeatedly pull off that stunt.

The artwork on both of the KINO Maigret releases is charming. The print quality is great.  And given the somewhat confined areas in which the stories unfold, there are some really rewarding uses of camera placement indicative, I imagine, of careful storyboarding.

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