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Jean Gabin


Inspector Maigret

(click to enlarge)

Scott: B894
October 11, 2001
perf 14

The image on the stamp is from this photo...
reversed horizontally!


One thing fascinates me at the moment. My old friend Jean Gabin, who has done some of "my" movies, films in which I did not participate (they were merely taken from my novels) – my old friend Gabin is going to interpret the character of Maigret. He has signed for three Maigret flims – two will be done this year, one beginning next month. It will be his eighth "Simenon." I believe that Jean Gabin will be nearest to Maigret, to the idea that the public has of Maigret and, in any case, to the idea that I myself have of him.

Simenon in Ciné-Revue, May 24, 1957

These twin brothers are a novelist and his character, Georges Simenon and Commissioner Maigret.
We no longer know if the author, pipe to lips and inquisitive look, made "his" hero in his own image,
or if it is he who copies his commissioner, that Jean Gabin will portray in "Inspector Maigret" [Maigret tend un piège]

"Simenon in Maigret's Trap"
Paris Match, Oct. 19, 1957

With the joining of Jean Gabin and Maigret in 1957, a new, less empty era opened up, beginning with Maigret tend un piège, directed by Jean Delannoy, with dialogue by Michel Audiard. The formula was a success, and in 1959, the Gabin Delannoy-Audiard trio returned with Maigret et l'affaire Saint-Fiacre, an adaptation of one of the earliest Maigrets (1932). Finally, joining only Préjean in playing the role three times, Gabin was again the commissioner in Maigrit voit rouge (1963), directed by Gilles Grangier (with dialogue by Jacques Robert), based on "Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters." Exhausted by success, there was no fourth. Was Gabin a perfect Maigret? Simenon seemed to think so when he declared: "Gabin has done an incredible job. He's spoiled the rest for me a bit, because I can't picture Maigret any more except with his features." Sincerity or flattery? It's tempting to go along with Jacques Siclier: "The literary myth is much too strong to be embodied otherwise than in the reader's imagination... On the screen, the two myths [Maigret and Gabin] overlap and cancel each other out, leaving a character of pure composition."

Plausible or not, Gabin was in any case the last French Maigret on the big screen...

Simenon on Screen
in: Le Cinéma Français (1984)

Jean Gabin in Wikipedia

Movie Stars

Complete Set

Surtax for the Federal Association of Voluntary Welfare Work

Marilyn Monroe

Charlie Chaplin

film reel

Greta Garbo

Jean Gabin

The missing 5th star from the set... Audrey Hepburn!

Audrey Hepburn

The "Movie Stars" set originally printed by the German Post for issue in 2001 included this stamp depicting Audrey Hepburn. But her relatives objected to the use of the image of her smoking a cigarette (she died of lung cancer in 1993), and the stamp was withdrawn at the last moment, with the film reel substituted. Although all copies of the Audrey Hepburn stamps were ordered destroyed, at least 30 were not, and some of these were used on commercial mail. Several examples have so far turned up. With commissions and taxes, the auction buyer of this sheet corner example paid a total of €169,000 in 2005, easily breaking the price record for a post-war German stamp, and possibly for any post-war stamp in the world.

adapted from Glen Stephens

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Oct. 16, 2010

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Oct. 17, 2010

Thanks to Jeff Dugdale for suggesting this Gabin stamp!