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Dark Nights: Simenon and Cinema

Thursday, July 11, 2013
7:00 p.m. La tête d’un homme
Julien Duvivier (France, 1933)

Archival Print!


(A Man’s Neck, A Man’s Head). At one point Simenon himself planned to direct La tête d’un homme, but the producers enlisted Julien Duvivier, who had a number of literary adaptations to his credit. “One of the first great screen incarnations of Georges Simenon’s famous sleuth, Inspector Maigret. Only months after Jean Renoir filmed La nuit de carrefour with his actor brother Pierre, Duvivier passed the pipe to Harry Baur, and the results were just as broodingly electric. Maigret roams crowded Montparnasse cafés and dingy tenements as he plays cat and mouse with a nihilistic, Dostoevskian killer (hauntingly played by Russian émigré actor Valéry Inkizhinov). Both a classic film noir and a seminal police procedural” (Lenny Borger).

• Written by Pierre Calmann, Louis Delaprée, Duvivier, based on the novel La tête d’un homme (A Battle of Nerves) by Georges Simenon. Photographed by Armand Thirard. With Harry Baur, Valéry Inkizhinov, Alexandre Rignault, Gaston Jacquet. (98 mins, In French with English electronic subtitles, B&W, 35mm, From Centre National de la Cinématographie)