Commissioner Maigret is currently experiencing a new film adventure in the guise of Gérard Depardieu, but famous French-speaking and non-French actors have played the character created by Georges Simenon. Small selection.
Discover the many faces of Maigret on screen, including English versions, but also Russian, Japanese or German. Other actors could have joined this selection, such as the Belgian Wies Andersen, Louis Arbessier, Herbert Berghof or Jan Teulings, also interpreters of the famous commissioner created by Georges Simenon.
With 24 one-hour episodes broadcast in 1978, the series Tokyo Megure Keishi, is well adapted from Georges Simenon, and effectively features a detective equipped with the same immediately recognizable accessories: hat, thick coat and pipe. He is played by actor Kin’ya Aikawa, in a version that transposes the context of the investigations into 1978 Tokyo.
Currently starring in Maigret, Gérard Depardieu is playing the character of Jules Maigret for the first time. The peculiarity of this version is that the commissioner does not smoke his famous pipe. An assumed choice on the part of the film crew.
From 1960 to 1963, British actor Rupert Davies played Jules Maigret for a BBC series in 52 episodes! He takes over the role in the introduction of another series of the chain: Detective, then for a unitary, Maigret At Bay (1969), adapted from Maigret defends himself.
The actor of Chéri-Bibi (1955 version) embodied the character in The Investigations of Commissioner Maigret, a French series broadcast from 1967 (Cécile is dead) to 1990 (Maigret in New York) on the ORTF then Antenne 2. series will experience phenomenal success, becoming cult for its quality, the interpretation of Jean Richard, but also for the “sandouiches”, regularly crunched by the inspector during his investigations.
The famous French actor Jean Gabin has played the film commissioner three times. First for Maigret Tends a Trap (1958, 3 million admissions), Maigret and the Saint-Fiacre Affair (1959, 2.86 million admissions) directed by Jean Delannoy then Maigret Sees Red (1963, 2 million entries) signed Gilles Grangier.
Better known for The Black Viper, Johnny English and of course his wacky Mr Bean character, Rowan Atkinson nevertheless played Maigret four times on television between 2016 and 2017, for Maigret at Picratt’s, Maigret: la nuit du crossroads, Maigret et son dead and Maigret lays a trap.
His performance is discreet, hidden in a film with sketches as he often turned to in his time, entitled Brelan d’as (1952). Simon appears in the final segment of the film, The Testimonies of an Altar Boy, in which Maigret is responsible for telling the truth to an altar boy who witnesses a murder and refuses to talk for fear of reprisals.
The essential face of the character, Bruno Cremer played the famous commissioner 54 times from 1991 to 2004. For a whole generation of French audiences, the actor is the face of Maigret, as Jean Richard was for the previous generation. The series is also an essential reference for lovers of adaptations of the work of Georges Simenon.
From 1964 to 1972, the transalpine actor, known to the French public above all as Giuseppe “Peppone” Bottazzi from the Don Camillo films, played the role of Maigret on the Italian small screen. The success is such that it even allows Gino Cervi to have an adventure in the cinema: Maigret à Pigalle (1966), directed by Mario Landi.
In 1966, Germany co-produced with Austria, France and Italy a Maigret adventure for the big screen. Entitled Maigret makes fly, it is directed by Alfred Weidenmann, who will tour a lot during the post-war years, and will end his career with episodes of Le Renard and L’Inspecteur Derrick. Heinz Rühmann is not a very convincing Maigret, and we will never see him again in the role.
For two episodes of a series broadcast in 2004, the Italian actor Sergio Castellitto, who had meanwhile gone on to direct, played Superintendent Maigret. Difficult to obtain images, but it is an adaptation of Maigret and the Chinese shadow.
1988, British television shoots a feature film featuring Richard Harris (A Man’s Price, Ruthless, Harry Potter) in a role he had wanted to play for years, fascinated as he was by Simenon’s literature . He will also constantly get angry with the producers on the set to try to enforce the author’s work during filming. This TV movie will become a miniseries with another Harry Potter actor, who played the same role as him (read below)!
Long before being the beloved Professor Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Michael Gambon was the hero of a Maigret series broadcast from 1992 to 1993, the time of 12 episodes. It is inspired by the TV movie with Richard Harris (cited above).
Go from Shakespeare to Simenon? No problem for Charles Laughton, who in 1949 turns under the direction of Burgess Meredith (and his own, because he will box a few scenes): The Man from the Eiffel Tower, in which he plays a Commissioner Maigret with all the official accessories of the character, and an investigation that will make him climb the heights of the famous Eiffel Tower. The film is also shot in Paris and adapts the novel La Tête d’un homme.
The USSR also had its Maigret! It was Armen Dzhigarkhanyan, who took part in 1987 in Maigret at the Minister’s, in which the commissioner investigates not a murder but a report by a building expert who mysteriously disappeared while warning against a disaster that finally happened.
Luis Van Rooten
The American television anthology Suspense offers a 30-minute story adapted from an adventure by Maigret: The Old Lady of Bayeux (1952), with Luis Van Rooten in the commissioner’s costume. It is directed by Robert Stevens, veteran of the anthology (he will box 145 episodes!), and who will work a few years later in close collaboration with the master of suspense to direct 44 episodes of the Alfred series. Hitchcock presents.
The filmmaker Julien Duvivier went through the Maigret box! In 1933, barely two years after its literary publication, he staged an adaptation of La Tête d’un homme by Georges Simenon. Jules Maigret (Harry Baur) has the heavy task of saving from the death sentence a man whom everything accuses of a double murder. Convinced of his innocence, Maigret will do everything to compromise the real assassin.
In 1932, actor Pierre Renoir found his first major role in La Nuit du carrefour, directed by his brother Jean Renoir. Its superintendent Maigret is a little more “overwhelmed” than usual, because despite his decision-making, assassination attempts are increasing in a neighborhood that he has nevertheless placed under surveillance.
In Picpus (1943), Albert Préjean plays a commissioner Maigret investigates the murder of a woman found in a wardrobe after a move. The story is adapted from Signé Picpus by Georges Simenon. Directed by Richard Pottier, author of some very popular films carried by Fernandel and singers like Tino Rossi and Luis Mariano (in particular Le Chanteur de Mexico), Picpus is written and dialogued by Jean-Paul Le Chanois, who will become one of regular directors of Jean Gabin during the next two decades.