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  • Albert Schweizer ,whose work is more famous abroad than in his countries (the plural is necessary for he was born in German Alsace ,then French citizen after WW1),was one of the great men of the last century,on a league with Ghandi and Martin Luther King.All his life was dedicated to doing good ,to relieve human sufferings .His enemies were yellow fever,leprosy ,malaria...And he knew that he would not,could not,for any reason,kill his brother.

    This is minor quibble to mention the historic mistakes:Schweizer was not arrested at the beginning of WW1 ,but in 1917.Father Charles de Foucault,who,after a racy past ,became a saint ,is featured in the film but he was killed in 1918,by Touaregs.

    Pierre FResnay was certainly one of the greatest actors of the French cinema.He was a wonderful "Monsieur Vincent" (in Maurice Cloche's film about Saint Vincent de Paul).But he almost became ridiculous as Albert Schweizer with his mustache,his fake Alsatian accent and his ham acting.Abetted (so to speak) by bombastic directing (turgid music) and a poor script,he makes the potentially absorbing story drastically boring.

    Jeanne Moreau in her prime appears as nurse Marie.

    Based on Gilbert Cesbron's eponymous play ;the title means "at midnight,you will be arrested ,Dr Schweizer ": He was an Alsatian,thus an "enemy" for the French!
  • Having just made 'Proces du Vatican' based on the life of Sainte-Therese de Lisieux, director Andre Haguet was the obvious choice to direct this film about Albert Schweitzer's extraordinary work in French Equitorial Africa. The title role, complete with moustache, is played by the great Pierre Fresnay whose stunning portrayal of Vincent de Paul in 'Monsieur Vincent' five years earlier would make this role a natural progression. He captures brilliantly the intense spirituality and single-mindedness of the man, mainly through his eyes. He has great support here from stalwart Jean Debucourt as Father Charles and from Jeanne Moreau as the nurse who assists him. Schweitzer was in fact assisted by his wife Helene but she is nowhere to be seen here presumably because the makers of the film considered the love-interest supplied by Nurse Marie and the two men who vie for her affections to be infinitely more appealing. This is a film after all! Music supervision is by Maurice-Paul Guillot and what music it is! Saint-Saens and Franck are both featured here, both of whom were church organists. Marcel Dupre plays the organ and one of his pupils Raymond Druard the piano transcriptions of J.S.Bach. Schweitzer's adoration of Bach is well documented and he was no mean organist himself as his recordings testify. Coincidentally, at the time this film was made Marcel Dupre was titular organist at Saint-Sulpice in Paris. He was succeeded in that post by Jean-Jacques Grunenwald who just happened to write the score for....yes, you've guessed it, 'Monsieur Vincent'! This film has inaccuracies to be sure and is not a classic by any means but the performances are excellent and we are overcome with admiration for this phenomenal human being who battled not only disease but also ignorance and superstition.