Michel Simon, Saturnin Fabre, Daniel Gélin and others, directed by Raymond Bernard, it's worth a try. Especially because the script by Jacques Companeez is so crescendo, we always learn something new about the characters and about what's happening, we're always surprised, it's really gripping. Srange atmosphere in an asylum full of crazies, we learn it's during WWII, some crazies are in fact from french resistance but we don't know who, it's a crazy manipulating script, there's even a scene that predates "Shock Corridor" by Sam Fuller. Tough editing and cinematography helps that insane progression with surprising twists. And of course, there're some dark comic situations with some loonies pretending they are important people, but who can you trust? Michel Simon is unforgettable as the peaceful man, Saturnin Fabre has explosive dialogs so funny with his way of talking. I'm only disturbed by the main star on the poster, her sequence at the end is to forget. Unique.
Reviewed by dbdumonteil8 / 10
Madness inside ...and madness outside....
"Un Ami Viendra Ce Soir" is Raymond Bernard's most ambitious film.Today ,it is looked upon,by most French critics as an extravaganza,a minor -albeit with a major potential- work.
"Un Ami" ,despite some reservations (the second part looks like filmed stage production and the Madeleine Sologne/Paul Bernard pairing does not work very well),deserves to be seen.
The action takes place in WW2 in occupied France. The first part might disturb someone who is not familiar with the subject;a man ,Michel Simon,,whose behavior and words seem completely insane ,meets a lady pushing an empty baby carriage all over the park. We are in an insane asylum.Resistant fighters hide there,with their leader ,Commandant Gerard whose identity they all ignore.Who is crazy?Who is a true fighter?These first scenes are downright disturbing ,it's a dialog of the deaf :some pretends they are crazy and talk nonsense ;some are really crazy and talk nonsense.A musician uses music notes to communicate .And Radio London adds to the confusion with its coded messages "The rhino is blowing soap bubbles /The kangaroo is dancing in the meadow",which make sense not only to the impostors but also to the madmen (I'm going to my Republic with the kangaroo" says Lunatic Michel Simon,a hippie of the forties,who could not stand evil).And there is also the German language,almost nobody understands.
The second part is not as successful as the first one and there are historical mistakes: at the time,no one knew what happened in the concentration camps; the American and Russian soldiers discovered the horror of those places in 1945 only when Germany fell in their hands. No one in France knew about the crematories and the word is uttered though.They seem to know all the details about the horrible things which the Nazis were doing there. However,there is enough suspense to sustain the interest till the last minutes,in spite of Madeleine Sologne's histrionic performance ;besides this blonde actress ,with her "Aryan " look,is supposed to be a Jew.