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Maigret (1988 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Directed byPaul Lynch[2]
Written byArthur Weingarten[3]
Produced byArthur Weingarten[3]
StarringRichard Harris
Victoria Tennant
Patrick O'Neal
Ian Ogilvy
CinematographyBob Edwards
Edited byLyndon Matthews
Music byAlan Lisk
Distributed byColumbia Pictures Television
ITV Network
Release date
21 May 1988[1]
Running time
94 minutes

Maigret is a 1988 television film starring Richard Harris as Georges Simenon's detective, Jules Maigret.[4] The film was intended as a pilot for a potential television series.[3]


While unhappily working on Archer, a television series adaptation of Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer stories, writer Arthur Weingarten began thinking about doing a mystery series with a different concept.[3]

I kept thinking, 'I've got to change the concept... And out of nowhere Maigret came to mind. I first read Simenon in high school in Brooklyn. No other mystery writers wrote that way. Plot was so secondary to character. Maigret never carried a gun, never ran after anybody. He looked into the shadows of people's lives, into the pain of people's lives.[3]

The studio was uninterested but Weingarten decided to pursue the rights to the character himself.[3] Friendship with Graham Greene got Weingarten an introduction to Georges Simenon.[1] Weingarten locked down American rights but spent five years gathering rights in other countries to attain worldwide rights to the character.[3] He then approached every American network about creating a Maigret series with no success until CBS agreed with the stipulation that he cast an international star.[3] Richard Burton was the first approached and he was keen but two weeks before filming was to commence he dropped out to do Private Lives on Broadway.[3] Sir Alec Guinness was next approached but he declined.[3] Weingarten spent a year negotiating with George C. Scott, but Scott eventually pulled out and with him went CBS.[3]

At this stage, Columbia Pictures Television agreed but Weingarten still needed a Maigret. After viewing A Man Called Horse one evening, he decided to approach Richard Harris.[3] Although Harris didn't physically fit the role, he was up for the challenge as a fan of the character.[3]

I had been introduced to Maigret back in 1972 by John Huston,” Harris revealed at the time. “I was instantly hooked and read sixty or seventy of them. It has been an obsession of mine to play him ever since. As I read the stories I became him in my head. The clue to Maigret is that he watches everything, and throws people into psychological confrontations to get their reactions. I think they were surprised when I said I would do it. Then they said they couldn't pay my full salary. So I said, "I don't have a salary. There is no price for me. If I like it and you can pay me, fine. If not, I'll still do it because I'll enjoy it."[5]

The project got additional funding from HTV and Coca-Cola[1] which brought the budget up to $3 million (US).[1] Filming was shot on location in Paris and West Country.[1] The script was drawn from a number of Simenon's original novels and the setting was moved up to the then-modern 1980s.[1]



The film was unsuccessful critically[1][5] which ended any possibility of it spawning a television series. Three years later, fellow Irishman Michael Gambon stepped into the role for another ITV production entitled Maigret which ran for twelve episodes.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Haining, Peter (1994). The Complete Maigret. Pan Macmillan. pp. 85–91. ISBN 978-1852834470.
  2. ^ Hardy, Phil (1997). The BFI Companion to Crime. University of California Press. p. 216. ISBN 9780520215382.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Hampton, Wilborn (22 February 1988). "A Much-Tangled Story: Getting Maigret on TV". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  4. ^ Haining, Peter. "The Great Detectives: Maigret". The Strand Magazine. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  5. ^ a b Kehoe, Paddy (20 July 2015). "Georges Simenon Inspector Maigret". RTÉ. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  6. ^ "DVD extra: Michael Gambon's 'Maigret' out this week". USA Today. 2 March 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 25 April 2022, at 12:16
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