Reviewed byPaul D.Vote: 8/10/10
Who would have thought that Rowan Atkinson could play a role asdifficult as "Maigret"? Not only is this on the other end of thespectrum, light-years away from "Johnny English" and "Mr. Bean",Commissaire Maigret (in this series ranked as "chief-inspector") wassplendidly portrayed by the late Bruno Cremer in no less than 54 (!)episodes, which made it twice as difficult for Atkinson to become thenew Jules.
Having read most of my countryman Georges Simenon's books, I have animage of Jules Maigret as a thinker, not a talker. Rowan Atkinsonportrays this in a very convincing way. Perhaps a little more pipe-training could come in handy, but other than that it's a realisticMaigret.
The use of Hungary as film location for 1950's Paris is a good choice:the dirty houses and alleys realistically picture the era of acoal-heated metropolis. Dirty cars complete the image, and even thecamera-work reminds of the film-noir of the 1940's and '50's.
The only flaws in this and the previous episode, are goofs that couldhave been avoided easily: the car's headlights should have been yellow,not white (compulsory in France from the mid 1930's until 1993), in litareas French cars used to drive with the positioning lights on - dipand high beam were only used on dark country roads, not in town.Another goof are the press cameras flash bulbs: until the late 1960's,before the age of electronics, flash bulbs were made of magnesiumfilaments, and had to be replaced after every shot. It was impossibleto flash, flash, flash in a few seconds, like ALL the cameras in thisseries do. Shame on you, researchers!
I really enjoyed Rowan Atkinson as a mature Jules Maigret, however...on the sly I was hoping for a suspect called... Bob. ;-)
Reviewed by (orinocowomble)Vote: 4/10/10
Pleased as I am to find that Rowan Atkinson can play straight roles,the Maigrets who have gone before(Cremer, Gabin, Gambon and co) have nocompetition in the new series. In spite of some excellent performances(Madame Maigret radiates decency and warmth while scarcely saying aword, whether she's serving drinks,comforting a widow or simply givingMaigret an extremely speaking look), "Maigret's Dead Man" never risesfrom the floor due to lackluster directing. All those distorted shots,lurid lighting and "artistic" camera angles gave me the impression thatJohn East had seen Moulin Rouge far too often.
Even though we are treated to some background detail that those whohave read the original novels will find pleasing (as for exampleMaigret's love of a hot coal fire to roast himself before in order tothink a case through), too many things were ever so slightly wrong. Ican't blame it on the fact that Hungary has to do duty for postwarParis; the Bruno Cremer series was also shot in Central Europe, but atleast they got the lighting and architecture right for Paris. Thedirection was slow and lackluster, the police officers supposedlymasquerading as habitues in a local bistro stuck out a mile in theirgabardines and hats, and the film went on for far too long. A judicioususe of sound stages would have served the purpose much better.
A strange offering for Christmas Day, what with torture and massmurder, sociopaths and showgirls. With such a volatile mixture, how didit all turn out so very bland?
A series of vicious, murderous attacks on three wealthy farms in Picardy hit the national headlines and the elite Brigade Criminelle at the Quay Des Orfevres is called upon to lend its expertise in tracking down the brutal gang responsible for the slaughter. However, Inspector Maigret is resolute in investigating the murder of an obscure anonymous Parisian, an investigation that ultimately solves both crimes.