Jacques Becker lovingly evokes the Belle epoque Parisian demimonde in this classic tale of doomed romance. When gangster’s moll Marie (Simone Signoret) falls for reformed criminal Manda (Serge Reggiani), their passion incites an underworld rivalry that leads inexorably to treachery and tragedy. With poignant, nuanced performances and sensuous black-and-white photography, Casque d’or (Golden Marie) is Becker at the height of his cinematic powers—a romantic masterpiece. —The Criterion Collection
His interest in films was stimulated by a meeting with King Vidor, who offered him employment in the US as actor and assistant director. However, he remained in France and became assistant to Jean Renoir, a friend of the family, during that director’s peak period (1932-39). In 1934 he ventured briefly into independent production, co-directing with Pierre Prévert a short film, Le commissaire est bon enfant, le gendarme est sans pitié (1935). In 1935 he turned out a five-reeler, Tête de turc (1935), which he later refused to acknowledge as his.
In 1939 he began shooting a feature film, L’or du Cristobal (1940), but walked out after three weeks, leaving the film to be finished by Jean Stelli. In 1942, after a year in a German prisoner-of-war camp, he began his career as director. His entire output consisted of only 13 films, but they include some of the most artistically and technically substantial in French cinema. He is one of the few Old Guard directors done honor by the New… read more
a completely unexpected beautiful piece of French cinema, that I had never heard of until I perused Criterion's French section and chose it for my Romance Criterion segment at the theatre. it will sweep you off your feet with the soft glow cinematography, the beautiful black and white, and Simone's captivating beauty. I am shocked at how little following this film has and how I haven't seen it til now. must watch!
Becker's wonderful film is one of the greatest romantic tragedies ever committed to celluloid. In a performance that led to international stardom, Signoret is radiant as the moll of a petty crook who falls in love with Reggiani's carpenter. Complications ensue when the leader of the crooks takes a shine to her and plots to separate the lovers. Based on a true-life scandal, this story of doomed love is a masterpiece..
A look at some of the best original French posters for the films in Film Forum’s current series: The French Old Wave.
Jacques Becker’s film Casque d’Or is a stunning examination of love at first… read review