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  • Quite hard to find, "le Mannequin Assassiné" must be seen because it's produced by the belgian Robert Lussac who plays intelligently the commissionner Aimé Malaise, a tall strong bearded smoking pipe and so determined to find out who stabbed a dummy and why do this weird act, "the greatest crime in the world" as Steeman writes. "Le Mannequin Assassiné" was shot after the successes of Lacombes and Clouzot adaptations from Steeman. But the screenwriter Georges Chaperot and dialoguist Pierre Lestringuez who wrote LMA were not big names in movie business, in fact they just wrote a few minor movies each. And that's the main weakness in this rarely seen Steeman adaptation : it misses all the visual scenes (the crazy carrying the dummy like "Saint André is walking", this scene being chosen for the cover of the 1949 book cover) and original strong dialogues. Not only did they miss the good parts and rewrite clumsily the story, but they added Malaise's wife, character completely useless and ridiculous boozing with villagers. Yes, Steeman's book deserved a better adaptation closer to the book. The main casting is fine with Blanchette Brunoy, Gilbert Gil, Blanchette Brunoy and the truculent Julien Carette, André Gabriello and Caussimon as the crazy.

    Strange list of casting on imdb, the first name is an obscure character while the main character commissionner Malaise is ninth.
  • "Le Mannequin Assassiné" is one of the last adaptation from the great Stanislas-André Steeman (three times adapted by Henri-George Clouzot). Steeman plays shortly a character of chemist. The Belgian actor Robert Lussac co-produced this movie and plays the commissioner Malaise, who looks very much alike Commissioner Maigret : in fact, Malaise existed before Maigret.

    We are very far from the masterpieces directed by Clouzot, however, it is still entertaining thanks to the cast (Blanchette Brunoy, Daniel Gélin, Gabriello and the colorful Julien Carette).

    The director Pierre De Hérain was the son-in-law of Maréchal Pétain. His directing career is from 1943 to 1949 with only five movies. "Le Mannequin Assassiné" is still very hard to find.

    Nice cinematography by Marcel Grignon, who would enlighten in the 60's all the De Funès movies.
  • dbdumonteil29 March 2011
    Stanislas André Steeman ,who was once one of the best detective stories writers in Europa(Belgium) fell out of favor with the public in the forty last years.Who remembers he wrote the two novels of which HG Clouzot made two indisputable classics, "L'Assassin Habite Au 21" and" Quai Des Orfèvres"?plus another good thriller by George Lacombe (screenplay by Clouzot again) "Le Dernier Des Six".

    By 1948,Steeman's fame was still big and directors kept on adapting his novels."Le Mannequin Assassiné " underwent some change :the hero,Commissaire Malaise -a bachelor (?) in the novel - has a wife ,who appears in scenes that should have been left in the can .They did the same for Mr Wens in Clouzot's screenplays and gave him a lover ,but Mila -Malou was played by Suzy Delair who was a much better actress than the histrionic old dear (or is she young?)who stuffs herself with cake and plays poker with the local barflies.

    As for the movie itself ,it's not bad ,although inevitably too short (75 min)for lots of characters are involved and it's sometimes difficult to remember who they are and what they have got to do with the plot,even for someone who read the novel before .The atmosphere of the old house is perfectly captured ,notably this old attic the characters would call "La Pampa" when they were young.The cast and credits over a railroad track is a good idea.The "murdered model" was left on the track to be run over by the train;a model bearing the effigy of a young man who died three months before .He was a strange sadistic guy who got most of his fun by (morally or physically) torturing people and pets .And ,in the grand tradition of Agatha Christie ,his death might not be natural and everyone in the house had certainly a good reason to do away with him.