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.
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In the short career of Jacques Becker he made some of the finest crime dramas in French cinema history. Casque d'or is a beautiful, lyrical romance set in the underworld. Few others besides Becker could make this film as wonderfully as he did.
It opens like a Renoir. Not Jean, Pierre-Auguste. It's 'Luncheon of the Boating Party'. There the lovers first meet. And because it's French, the lovers are doomed. That's the best kind of love. The kind of love where you'll do anything to free the man you love.
This is what is meant by the filmmakers of the French New Wave when referencing the old French Cinema they sought to subvert. It’s a perfect example of that Renoir frame of mind, even though he is not the director here. “Tradition of quality” I think they called it. This is certainly that.
Becker's film may not be complex, intellectual nor innovative. Nonetheless, his powerful, energetic filmmaking, alongside Signoret and Reggiani's masterful performances, makes "Casque d'or" one of the most beautiful and touching '50s French films.
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!
Simone Signoret is so luminous in this film that the sheer effulgence of her presence can obscure Becker's wider achievement in marrying an Impressionist painting of Beau Monde Paris and a genre thriller to end up with a glorious melodrama which, as with the waltz between Marie and Georges, transcends mere time and place.
★★★½ /35mm/ Becker’s great romantic tragedy thoughtfully unfolds, taking its time to develop the turn of the century French setting, layered characters and the building drama that envelops all of them. Simone Signoret is magnificent, displaying a rich range of emotions. Becker skillfully handles the shifting tones of melodrama until its haunting cutting end.
Un des plus beaux et des plus complets films de Jacques Becker, qui immortalise la regrettée Simone Signoret dans un des rôles essentiels de sa longue et variée carrière. Désormais un classique du cinéma français qui n'a rien perdu de sa mélancolique tendresse et de sa légendaire fatalité. Certainement l'une des meilleures compositions de Serge Reggiani, époustouflant. www.cinefiches.com