MAIGRET SETS A TRAP
MAIGRET TEND UN PIEGE
1958, Kino Lorber, 119 min, France/Italy, Dir: Jean Delannoy

Though he was often subject to disparagement by New Wave critics, veteran director Jean Delannoy actually pushed forward the Parisian crime film with this first of two Inspector Maigret adaptations featuring the incomparable Jean Gabin. MAIGRET TEND UN PIEGE adds its own cynical tone to the police procedural, aided by Delannoy’s expert use of actual locations in Montmartre. Gabin fits the role of Maigret like a glove, and he’s surrounded by a cast of colorful characters, including well-shaped turns from Annie Girardot and Jean Desailly.


POISON IVY
LA MOME VERT-DE-GRIS
1952, Pathe, 97 min, France, Dir: Bernard Borderie

The first of Eddie Constantine’s (France’s biggest star of the 1950s) jokey, self-referential Lemmy Caution tales, LA MOME VERT-DE-GRIS also features blonde bombshell Dominique Wilms, who leaves every man she meets during the film’s delirious action more than a little breathless. As Bertrand Tavernier noted, Constantine’s alter ego Lemmy Caution is the template for James Bond - though he’s clearly more hangdog and unkempt than the suave British spy. But Constantine wins us over with his crooked smile, his love of liquor and women, and his reckless courage in the face of gunfire. LA MOME VERT-DE-GRIS makes it clear why Paris was at Eddie’s feet in the ’50s, and you’ll want to scratch that itch for more Lemmy!


STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR
CRONACA DI UN AMORE
1950, Kino Lorber, 98 min, Italy, Dir: Michelangelo Antonioni

Antonioni achieved auteur status virtually overnight with this impressive feature debut, a passionate tale of forbidden love and betrayal. Ostensibly a film noir, inspired by James M. Cain's 1934 crime novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, it represented a bold departure from the still-prevalent Italian neorealist movement, and the director’s signature style is unmistakable. When a seedy industrialist (Ferdinando Sarmi) hires a private investigator to look into his wife’s past, events are set in motion that spark a lost romance between the young woman (Lucia Bose) and her former lover (Massimo Girotti). As with any Antonioni work, STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR transcends the specificity of its storyline and delivers a powerful meditation on tragedy and human experience.


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