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N° 1511, pp 15-17
Tuesday, July 23, 1963


Maigret Sees Red

a film by Gilles Grangier

told in pictures by Gilles Durieux

[original French]





Jean Gabin once wrote, "Paul Guth has the regality of a great beast, with which lower species never dare to dispute precedence." These words could apply as well to Georges Simenon's acclaimed inspector, Jules Maigret, the equal of Lemmy Caution and Sherlock Holmes. Once more, Gabin has agreed to lend his features to the champion of the quai des Orfèvres. After Maigret Sets a Trap, and Maigret and the Saint-Fiacre Affair, here is Maigret Sees Red.

Three American gangsters, newly arrived in Paris. Suddenly, one of them, a certain Charlie (Cooper), shoots, and a man falls. Of course, the killer and his partners, Cicero and Bill, flee the scene.

Inspector Lognon (Guy Decomble), passing by, hurries to the victim's aid. But when he goes to notify Police Emergency, the man disappears. A witness tells a dumbfounded Lognon that the man was taken away in a white Citroën DS.

Several hours later, Lognon is grabbed in turn by the three Americans and beaten up. They wanted to know, he explains to Maigret, what had become of their victim's body! Maigret wonders if his friend hadn't been hallucinating...

Fortunately, Lognon had had the presence of mind to note the license number of the Chevrolet. Its owner was none other than a certain Pozzo, owner of a bar frequented by many Americans. Jules Maigret (Gabin), having overheard a telephone call, would like to quickly make the acquaintance of Lily (Françoise Fabian), an employee of Pozzo's, and mistress of Bill, who, along with his friends, hid out at her place.

Without a doubt, Maigret knows how to speak to women, because Lily can't stand up to him. She confesses to having sheltered the three Americans. She couldn't deny it, because the sharp-eyed Maigret had discovered drugs hidden in the bathroom. On top of that, Lognon had spotted a framed portrait of Bill Larner (Bud Harris), one of his attackers.

More determined than ever, Maigret once again interrogates Pozzo (Vittorio Sanipoli). His attention is drawn to a signed photo of an American boxer, who is none other than Charlie. But Maigret doesn't know him yet and is still wondering about the disappearance of the victim of his Made-in-USA killers. He understands even less Lognon's affirmation that the man discovered in Pigalle was certainly dead.

On his return to the quai des Orfèvres Maigret receives a call for help from a person claiming to be the wife of the Pigalle victim. When Maigret arrives at the hotel of Mrs. Curtiss, he finds her dead.

Meanwhile, the killers, uncertain as to whether they have killed Curtiss, decide to strike a second time and to get rid of the "spoilsports" like Maigret. He is tracked in a covered market, but had time to warn a nearby policeman. Charlie shoots down an officer, and is wounded.

This time, it must be admitted that Maigret has been pushed too far. He accepts a weapon from his colleague Bonfils (Paul Frankeur) and goes to visit one of his friends at the American embassy. In a friendly way, he suggests that Maigret stay out of this business where he risks tackling adversaries stronger than himself. But Maigret doesn't care much for his advice.

The terrifying Cicero has just learned that Lily had talked. He joins her at Pozzo's, intending to teach her a lesson, but while he is taking drugs, she runs away.

Lily has found shelter in the white Citroën D.S of Harry MacDonald, the embassy attaché who is actually an FBI agent. He is the only one who knows that Curtiss isn't dead. Curtiss was the witness to a murder in New York carried out by an underworld boss, a certain Walter Douglas. He is "untouchable" because of his airtight alibi. Only Curtiss, alive, can send this scoundrel to the electric chair.

Cicero and Charlie are Douglas's men charged with cutting down Curtiss, the bothersome witness, no matter what. For now, Cicero would like to find Lily and eliminate her. But he meets up with Maigret's men, headed by Inspector Torrence (Marcel Bozuffi).

Cicero, a true force of nature, doesn't hesitate to take on three policemen at a time. He overcomes them with tremendous power, but stumbles and, in falling, knocks his head against the bumper of his car. Cicero, the terror of Chicago, is out for the count.

The game is not yet over, as Maigret well knows, and he decides to move more openly to the attack. His men listen to his instructions before taking the road to Lamorlaye, in Seine-et-Oise, where the rest of the gang has gone to ground, including particularly Charlie, the most dangerous of all.

At Enclos, on the property of a certain doctor Fezin (Armontel), Maigret first discovers Charlie, who is quickly overcome. In the garage they find Bill's body, shot down by his ex-friends who didn't trust him anymore. At this point Maigret understands what Harry MacDonald has been up to.

He returns home immediately and discovers Curtiss, the victim, and Lily there. Paying no attention to the FBI agent, who speaks of a diplomatic incident, he decides to incarcerate the entire crew, and tells his friend, "No more 'Jules.' Tomorrow, Chief Superintendent Maigret will receive you in his office at the quai des Orfèvres!"

The following day, Maigret says to his friend Harry (Paul Carpenter), "So, Mr. Professional, don't you think this merits a small tip of the hat to the amateur? "You've got it, Maigret!"

translated by Stephen Trussel
July 2003


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