giovedì 24 maggio 2018

SIMENON SIMENON. WHAT A PLEASURE WITH MAIGRET!

Still about the series with Rupert Davies 

SIMENON SIMENON. CHE PIACERE CON MAIGRET ! 
Ancora sulla serie con Rupert Davies 
SIMENON SIMENON. QUEL PLAISIR AVEC MAIGRET ! 
Encore à propos de la série avec Rupert Davies 

You might think I must have seen all of those Rupert Davies Maigret episodes at least ten times each, as a fan. But it's not like that, not at all, although there was the complete series on TV Channel Two in the sixties, thereplays, then a long long time nothing. But from the mid nineties onwards one could get copies from the ZDF for much moneyI made myself a list of the films that I would like best, and I bought copies each time I could afford some more of them, that's right, but I did not devour them. The Rupert Davies Maigret is something very special, you know. The best thing for me is to spread out the whole along all of my lifetime.
Last week, for example, a friend of mine sent me the DVD "Maigret und der Mann auf der Bank" ("Murder on Monday"), that I did not possess and that I had never seen before. I was very happy to hold it at last in my hands. But instead of watching it at once, I left it on the shelf for some days. I kept wondering whether that film would be that catching to me like the ones I watched on TV as a youngster in the sixties. I had some doubts, because another friend of mine recently told me, "Maigret" would have been thrilling to us only when we were kids and because those films were, partly, forbidden to us. So, starting to watch that film, I almost felt myself a boy again and was absolutely open to what would happen now. What do you assume - did I like that film, or not? It was a surprise for me, too: I had not seen a film that fascinating for a very long time! That story, all those fabulous actors, the music, the feeling of French atmosphere, as if it really was a French film! Well, it was a BBC production, and BBC always knew how to make perfect crime shows and documentations. This was Georges Simenon's opinion as well; in his "Intimate Memories" he expressly had admiring words concerning BBC, London. 
Sometimes it's hard to believe Rupert Davies was NOT a Frenchman. During his high times, very well known as Maigret by almost everyone, he tried to extract some fun out of this. Once, for example, when he opened the garden party in aid of Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare at St. Mary's, Bramber, - by the way, Davies was a vegetarian -, he began his speech using French words, just for fun. Not until he noticed a few blank looks from the crowd that had gathered, he changed to English.  
It would be wrong taking the BBC Maigret too seriously, I suppose. Of course, there do occur very exciting and serious moments in those crime films, still the series was supposed to have an absolute realistic touch to match the Simenon novels, but there is enough room and time for fun, too. In "Murder on Monday", for example, they took Stratford Johns to play the part of a suspect, exactly him of all actors, who, at those times, was famous on British TV screens as Detective Chief Superintendent Barlow in a different very long running BBC crime show series. He as a murderer in "Maigret" surely would turn things upside down! Or think of the dialogues between Maigret and Lucas, sometimes they are really very funny!  
Even Simenon had his fun writing his Maigret books: According to what I once read, he found the Maigrets a relaxing matter in comparison with his "really hard" novels. Writing Maigrets he could do even while whistling a tune! Well, I don't take him at his word, the Maigret novels are much too good compositions, they simply couldn't have been written in passing. But I do believe they were done each in a week or so.  

Berthold Deutschmann

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