Farewell, Friend

Director: Jean Herman
Year: 1968
Rating: 6.0
Country: France

A.K.A Adieu l'ami
A.K.A Honor Among Thieves

Delon and Bronson together. That is a lot of iconic cool on the screen at the same time. But that is from today's perspective. Back in 1968 Bronson was not that well-known - he was either in B films or down on the list of credits for films like Battle of the Bulge or The Dirty Dozen. This is a French-Italian production that takes place in France - dubbed into English - though Bronson does his own dubbing and I believe Delon does as well. Delon had seen Bronson in Machine Gun Kelly in which Bronson plays the title character - but that had been released way back in 1958 - but Delon remembered Bronson and asked for him to play opposite him in what turns out eventually to be a buddy film. The movie was a big hit in Europe and made Bronson a star over there leading to his getting a role in Once Upon a Time in the West. But not so in America where the film was not released until 1973. The 1980 video release was re-titled Honor Among Thieves.

It takes a while for this film to come together but once it does it is fairly good though the whole scheme makes very little sense. But for the first third it was just weird jumping from scene to scene like it was a New Wave film from Godard. One episode takes place in this wealthy house in which Bronson brings along a plaything and all these gentleman around her act as if she is a real doll. It has absolutely nothing to do with the film. But eventually Delon and Bronson get together and beat each other up from time to time. That is of course the tried and true method of becoming friends in macho movies. Don't try it at home.

Both of them come back to France after being released from the French Foreign Legion where they had fought in Algeria and Vietnam. But they didn't know each other. Out of a debt he owes to a friend, Delon agrees to help a lovely woman (Olga Georges-Picot) put security bonds back into a safe before they are discovered missing. Bronson gets wind of something happening and invites himself into the game which he assumes is a heist. They get locked in. And a grudging friendship begins. Of course, nothing is quite what it seems. As Delon's nurse (he is a doctor) is Brigitte Fossey.

The two of them have excellent chemistry and Bronson is American cool while Delon with those famous blue eyes is French cool. It makes for a good combination and they were later to join forces again in Red Sun, which added yet more icon to the mix, Toshiro Mifune. I have to find that.