Another movie dealing with the love triangle:the husband,the wife and the (wife's) lover.Haven't you been through this movie before?Probably one thousand times or more.Can three actors save a movie?
In this case,the answer is absolutely yes yes yes: not only the actors carry the movies on their shoulders but they give superlative performances ,helped by lots of fine lines along the way ,so to speak,for it is a drama "in camera" ,most of the action taking place in the couple's apartment.
Charles is the hubby ,a cuckold,a part Bernard Blier knew quite well,for he shone in Yves Allégret's "Manèges" the year before.Charles is a good husband ;he is not handsome but he contents himself with his collection of stamps ,his slippers and his crepes .When he learns that his wife and her lover want to poison him,he thinks of killing both of them but he feels that time has passed him by and that his time is almost thru anyway.Blier has sublime lines when he tells Auclair that "his old dog (Brutus) lived on borrowed time and it was time for him to go.
Fernande is the perfect housewife who can cook Gigot or crepes but she realizes how unfulfilled her life is.She's still dreaming of a passionate love ,she's a Madame Bovary in search of her Rodolphe.Madeleine Robinson is ,as usual,perfect, and her last scene is deeply moving in its simplicity.
Maurice is,by far,the most complex character in the movie.Michel Auclair was one of the most underrated actors of the French cinema and when he is given good material to work with ,he 's brilliant (remember his part of an invert in Clément's "Les Maudits" ,Des Grieux in Clouzot's "Manon" or the many roles he played in Duvivier's "La Fete A Henriette " .Auclair was so subtle an actor most of the directors (except the great ones I mention)did not know how to use him.
Here,Auclair portrays Maurice ,a handsome lover ,but in several respects,an immature man,still a child.Charles ,even if he can't see what his game is ,considers him some kind of young guest ,some orphan nephew .He may be deceitful and spineless ,he is overtaken by events .After the scene of the cup of tea,he can't understand why Fernande must renege on their love.The postcards on the wall that tell us the story of the friendship have something childish .He ,too,uses another story (his so called aunt) to make his friend understand that his wife does not love him anymore.
"L'Invité Du Mardi" is a fine drama ,a story full of regrets ,of despair ,of incommunicability ,of hatred and ,yes,of love.The last scene may be one of the finest love scenes of the French Pre-Nouvelle Vague days.And once again,Auclair,Blier and Robinson cannot be praised too highly,considering the limitations they are working under.
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