In Paris, a down on his luck medical student, Johann Radek, is desperate for money. On the other hand is Bill Kirby, a man living off his aunt's wealth. Being the sole benefactor of his aunt's fortune, Bill Kirby pays Radek to murder his aunt. With the murder committed, Inspector Maigret is brought in to investigate, leading to a game of cat and mouse between both Radek and Maigret, intelligent men on the opposite sides of the law. Burgess Meredith's The Man on the Eiffel Tower is a very unique crime drama that has little regard for the typical tropes of the investigative genre. The first thing that struck me about The Man on the Eiffel Tower is how the film doesn't keep much from the viewer. Within the first 15 minutes of the film the viewer is completely aware of who is responsible for the murder, even if the Inspector is not, letting the audience focus more on the cat and mouse game which ensues between Radek and Inspector Maigret. While one would think this takes away from the suspense of the film, there is still plenty of twists and turns involved. Radek is such a fun antagonist, taunting the police right in front of their faces, even going as far as to give them clues like his dirty money. He is seemingly a step ahead of the Inspector at every turn, which leads to much of the mystery and suspense stemming from one wondering if he will ever slip up. Think Kevin Spacey in Se7en, as Radek is sociopath who believes he is far smarter than the Police, getting his kicks out of playing games with the police. While The Man on the Eiffel Tower is in color, it has a film noir sensibility in its visual design, using expressive lighting and shadows to create much of the atmosphere of the film. Considering this you would think the film is dreary and serious, yet it's quite playful at times, with comical music cues and other stylistic decisions which tend to be used in more light-hearted narratives. Really, almost everything about The Man on the Eiffel Tower isn't what one would expect from a murder mystery, which in turn is what makes it special, being one of the most unique and interesting films the murder mystery genre has to offer.
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