Clouzot was a big fan of Belgian mystery writer (no, not Simenon!) Stanislaus André Steeman, from whose works he created three screenplays, with QUAI DES ORFEVRES being the last. Instead of returning to the setup in his first two scripts, where the action is carried by a private eye and his saucy girlfriend (Pierre Fresnay and Suzy Delair), Clouzot rewrote the story with a single police inspector as the focal point of the murder investigation. He gave that part to the one and only Louis Jouvet, who carries the film magnificently.
To me, it's a rather light/slight story but it plays very well thanks to a few nice twists and the towering presence of Jouvet; the acting ensemble (with Delair transposed into a flighty, wayward dancehall singer, and Bernard Blier as her twichty, jealous husband) is also in top form.
I wrote about it in passing in a post at MCP's Substack blog, which was introducing a similar film we'll be screening in San Francisco this coming Sunday: MONSIEUR LA SOURIS (1942), directed by Georges Lacombe, who directed the first of the three Clouzot scripts adapting Steeman's work (LE DERNIER DES SIX, released in 1941). You can read that here:
Clouzot takes maybe two steps forward with QUAI DES ORFEVRES; the Clouzot that gets all the attention for being a more misanthropic incarnation of Hitchcock doesn't come into full view until MANON in 1949. It's too lightweight to be considered a French noir masterpiece, but it's an expertly made film and it's extremely enjoyable.