A credible example of the policier, a French genre that flowered in the mid-1950s... The supporting cast is strong. Annie Girardot portrays a woman of mystery in one of her first roles, before “Rocco and His Brothers” (1960) made her a star in Europe. Jean Desailly, a suspicious character here, would later play the straying husband in Truffaut’s “The Soft Skin” (1964). Alert viewers may also recognize a rough-hewn Lino Ventura — already a fixture in policiers — as one of Maigret’s men.
Stylishly directed by Jean Delannoy, with canted angles and copious depths of field, the films are uncommonly long for whodunits (Maigret Sets a Trap, pictured, runs 199 minutes)—allowing for privileged rests between the beats, like a lovely kitchen scene where an up-all-night Maigret tells his wife that for various reasons, it may be time to retire. Parisian criminals could only wish.