In the seedy Fourth Arrondissement in Paris, women are being knifed to death by an elusive killer. Chief Inspector Maigret (Gabin) is thinking of retirement, tired of the daily grind. But when the psychopath taunts him directly, Maigret is drawn deeper into the affair. His investigation leads to a local butcher (Adam), the cheating wife (Girardot) of a well-to-do artist (Desailly) and his strangely suspicious mother (Bogaert).
Gabin’s nuanced performance as the pipe-smoking gumshoe does full justice to the famous hero of Georges Simenon’s novels. In his first (and best) of three outings in the role, the actor deftly balances the character’s dogged ingenuity and world-weary ennui. Delannoy shoots on claustrophobic sets, suggesting the close community of a Parisian quarter, with the murders rendered in atmospheric light and shadow. Taut and psychologically dense, this underrated gem pays homage to American film noir while fitting firmly in the canon of great French “policiers.” A must for Gabin fans!