The Golden Coach (Le Carrosse d’or) is a ravishing eighteenth-century comic fantasy about a viceroy who receives an exquisite golden coach, and gives it to the tempestuous star of a touring commedia dell’arte company. Master director Jean Renoir’s sumptuous tribute to the theatre, presented here in the English version he favored, is set to the music of Antonio Vivaldi and built around vivacious and volatile star Anna Magnani. —The Criterion Collection
The son of the painter Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir became one of France’s most important and respected filmmakers during the middle of the 20th century. A Philosophy and Math student, Renoir became a cavalryman, but was invalided out of the army before World War I. Later, he married a model and aspiring actress, and, following the death of his father and the acquisition of an inheritance, set up his own production company to produce movies for his wife. Renoir learned from these early experiences of financing movies and watching other films, and became a director in 1924. With the advent of sound, Renoir’s career was quickly made with a series of profitable films, including La Chienne (1931), a savage and dark drama about a man’s self-destruction, which was later remade by Fritz Lang as Scarlet Street. Renoir’s subsequent films, including The Lower Depths (1936) and Grand Illusion (1937), were among the finest made in France before the war, and were well acknowledged at the time of… read more
A trio of men are inexplicably drawn to actress Camilla. They woo. They court. There are moments of screwball comedy shenanigans. There is a message about social status and power tied up with the fate of a schmancy coach. (The opening and closing seem to be old school 3D. I don't think the theater where I saw the movie was aware of this so no glasses were offered and the projectionist kept trying to focus the film.)
After a sojourn in India filming The River, Renoir decamped to Rome's Cinecittà studio for this Italo-French co-production featuring a largely Anglo-Italian cast. Magnani gives a typically fireband performance as the principal performer in a troupe of commedia dell'arte players in 18th Century Peru. The former master of realism shows off his mastery of overt artificiality with this colourful extravaganza. Great fun..
"Actors, how shocking!" Visual splendor, vivacious storytelling and vivid emotion. All in glorious technicolor! A digestible social commentary about cultural boundaries wrapped in drama akin to the traveling troupe. The juxtaposition of visual design between shots is mesmerizing; each composition is layered, yet poignant -must be a genetic disposition. Allen and Almodovar took notes on this one, I'm sure.
A complex masterpiece, masquerading as a light and comic period piece. Truffaut nails it when he called it "The noblest and most refined film ever made...a film about theatre in the theatre". I wish that "The Golden Coach" and Renoir's "The River" were as known as some of his earlier films, both are incredibly beautiful works of art.
A look at the early work of one of the great designers of the Golden Age of Polish movie posters.