Adios & Adieu, Bronson & Delon

DATELINE: Farewell, Friend!

adios & adieu

Where has this 1960s crime caper movie been hiding for fifty years?  Charles Bronson is teamed with Alain Delon as a couple of ex-Foreign Legionnaires who plan to break into a major corporate vault.

They are both young and virile.

The film may have had a limited American release, known in circles as Adios, Amigo as well as Adieu, l’Ami.  The American title turns out to be Farewell, Friend.  It’s all the same.

The movie was made when Bronson was on the cusp of international stardom and started matching up with European stars. It came around the time of The Dirty Dozen.

Alain Delon was bigger and received top billing, but he wanted American recognition. His English here is quite good. He was known for critically-acclaimed arty films, and his American incursion was less art and more matter-of-fact.

These two misfits are not exactly well-matched, nor do they like each other. So, you can be fairly certain their amiable hostility will support the old aphorism there is no honor among thieves.

We had no illusions that there would be a good script, but that at least it would give the two stars enough space to play it to the hilt. Indeed, it does.

Even more surprising, the sets are stylish and modern. Not only that, Bronson and Delon are dressed in the finest tailored suits. They do not look like refugees from Haight-Ashbury, as do many stars in 1968 movies.

Bronson has the rough-edged thug role, and Delon is the more debonair scam artist. Their reasons for breaking into a French corporate payroll vault also puts them at loggerheads. Yet, without the usual mayhem and car chases, this turns out to be a quite intriguing and different film, probably dissatisfying to fans.

We loved it.

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Low Rent Hitchcock Always Nicer than No Hitchcock

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

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Scrumptious Couple

We took in—again—Julien Duvivier’s marvelous little thriller from the late ‘60s that has a freshness about it that seems contemporary.

Diabolically Yours features beauty hiding evil everywhere.

Start with Alain Delon and Senta Berger never more stunning. They are a beautiful husband and wife, or at least they seem to be. They are rich and live on a gorgeous estate in a house decorated with Ming Dynasty treasures. Everything is lovingly filmed. They made two versions, one in French and one in English. Either is fine.

The problem is that gorgeous George Campo has amnesia after a car accident and nothing quite is familiar to him. His wife is a bit standoffish—and his best friend happens to be his doctor. Throw in a Chinese manservant who is inscrutable, but keeps all Madame’s clothes in his room with a lifesize mannequin of her to dress.

Poor George! Even his dog doesn’t like him. But his wife keeps feeding him those sleeping pills and refusing conjugal visits. It’s enough to make you start looking for dead bodies in the garden.

Short and slow until its sudden denouement, this is one of those classic French mysteries that used a Hitchcock template after Hitch stopped making his kind of movies.

This had a style reminiscent of Reflections in a Golden Eye, made around the same time, and also a contemporary flopperoo. But, audiences then are less astute than today when we have to shop in the past since the only fare nowadays is superhero light.

If you want a tantalizing mystery for 90 minutes with a hilarious sudden ending of poetic justice, then you could do worse than spending some time puzzling over this dittie.

 

Delon and Berger were never more beautiful and delicious.