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Casque d'Or (The Criterion Collection) (1952)

Simone Signoret , Serge Reggiani , Jacques Becker  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Simone Signoret, Serge Reggiani, Claude Dauphin, Raymond Bussières, Odette Barencey
  • Directors: Jacques Becker
  • Writers: Jacques Becker, Annette Wademant, Jacques Companéez
  • Producers: André Paulvé, Raymond Hakim, Robert Hakim
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: DisCina International
  • DVD Release Date: January 18, 2005
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006HC0GY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,542 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Casque d'Or (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Audio commentary by film scholar Peter Cowie
  • 1995 video interview with actor Serge Reggiani
  • 1963 interview with actress Simone Signoret from the French television program Cinepanorama
  • Excerpt from an episode of the French television series Cineastes de notre temps, dedicated to Jacques Becker
  • Rare, silent behind-the-scenes footage of Becker on the set with commentary by film scholar Philip Kemp

Editorial Reviews

Jacques Becker lovingly evokes the Belle Èpoque 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 is Becker at the height of his cinematic powers—an achingly romantic masterpiece.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Becker's Brilliant Depiction of Agonizing Passion... February 3, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Eyes are the source of visual perception though which most people conceive the world and all of its wonders. A moment where two pair of eyes catch one another and there is a spark of mutual interest could lead to further emotional investment. This mutual interest is most frequently triggered through the visual experience, which catches something that fascinates the individual. The fascination rapidly releases a rush of hormones as the visual contact continues and intensifies the emotional sensation through out the whole body. Occasionally, there are physical manifestations revealed through butterflies in the stomach and uneasy feelings that could cause sweatiness and involuntary stuttering. This is a common phenomenon, which most people undergo at least once in a lifetime, known as falling in love.

The moment of falling in love can be overwhelmingly passionate, as the affected could drift into oblivion with muffled thought and reasoning. This kind of love could be damaging to the person, even painful to those near and dear. Casque d'Or opens with such a spellbinding moment where the two main characters, Marie and Manda, gaze at one another unaware of their future predicaments. The title, Casque d'Or, refers to Marie (Simone Signoret) golden hair, which serves a symbolic meaning through the hypnotic effects it appears to have on men. Manda (Serge Reggiani) seems to be under its spell, as he passionately stares at Marie.

The carpenter Georges Manda's luck, or maybe more rightfully misfortune, began when he accidentally bumped into his old jail friend, Raymond. Through Raymond's acquaintances and criminal friends he meets Marie (Simone Signoret) who currently is together with Roland (William Sabatier).
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a pretty picture December 16, 2006
Casque D'Or may take a little while to get into, with the first half hour being largely milieu and set-up, but once the plot kicks in it's compelling. Seen today it seems certain to have been one of Scorsese's influences in Gangs of New York, not least because Jacques Becker takes the standard period costume drama setting and then plays a down-and-dirty movie that pays no attention to the niceties you're expecting: these characters really are low lives. The knife-fight is tough stuff, and its aftermath beautifully staged, and the finale has real emotional power - not least the shots of Serge Reggiani's almost-dead waltz with Smone Signoret that in a more 'modern' (1940-50s) setting would have pegged out his fate from the moment he met her. Having only seen Signoret in her later haggard roles, it was also a surprise to see just how luminous she was in her youth. Impressive stuff.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Signoret is As Monumental as One of Picasso's Women November 1, 2010
"Casque D'Or," ("Golden Helmet," or "Golden Marie,") (1952), is a classic black and white French gangster film/crime drama/romance/costume drama, set in Paris at about the turn of the 20th Century, the 1890's "Belle Epoque." In springtime, at an Impressionistic, riverside, open-air dance hall, the members of Leca's gang are relaxing with their women. One of them, the cheerful prostitute Marie, aka "Casque d'Or" (Golden Helmet) meets Georges Manda, an ex-con trying to go straight as a carpenter. The pair instantly has eyes only for each other, an instance of what the French call a "coup de foudre," literally a thunderbolt of madness. But the man who keeps Marie, Roland is jealous, and the boss Leca himself has his eye on her, giving us a story of the glory of love, illicit romance, death, friendship and jealousy during the Belle Epoque. The movie was written and directed by Jacques Becker and it was not successful upon its initial French release. However, after it received critical acclaim in New York, and Simone Signoret's nomination for a BAFTA (the British equivalent of an Oscar) for her performance as Marie, it began to be recognized for the masterpiece it is. It has now been painstakingly restored by the Criterion Collection.

Becker came by his filmic Impressionism naturally, as he studied with the great French director Jean Renoir (Grand Illusion - Criterion Collection), son of the widely beloved Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. "Casque" successfully recreates the ambiance of Paris at the turn of the century: it is bathed in dazzling golden light that frequently reflects off Signoret's golden hair.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is Belle Époque Paris, which can be a dangerous world where there are few second chances, and none for lovers. Innocence seems to have been long ago wrung out of Marie (Simone Signoret). She's a prostitute and the bought woman of Roland, a handsome, arrogant member of Felix Leca's gang, a group of bullyboy thieves, pimps and murderers. Leca (Claude Dauphin) combines slyness, danger and oiliness in equal measure. Leca wants Marie, and on his terms. She's beautiful in a coarse and knowing way, with a swagger and a hand on her hip, a gangster's girl who takes being slapped as part of the life. When Marie meets Georges Manda, "Jo" (Serge Reggiani), a man who had been part of the life, had served time and now is a carpenter, everything changes. In the dance at the start of the movie, with the gangsters in their tight suits, their women in flouncy gowns and ribbons, cheap waltzes playing, beer and wine on the tables, Marie sees Jo, likes him and flirts. For Jo, he can't take his eyes off her. The music plays on, they dance. The next day Marie sets out to see Jo at his carpenter's shop. Her feelings deepen in some inexplicable way. Marie regains a measure of innocence with Jo and we watch this happen. Jo will do anything to protect her. Marie will do anything to protect Jo. Leca, always there, is determined to have his way.

What first appears to be a turn-of-the-century tale about gangsters and their women turns seamlessly and with foreboding into a hopeless and emotional love story. When we last see Marie I started to choke up. Does Casque d'Or, the story of Marie and Jo, reach the level of tragedy? Probably not, but it will do.

The Criterion DVD of Casque d'Or looks just fine.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars EN FRANCAIS
This is a good, serious film, and though there is translation available, you may enjoy it better if you understand French. I'm very happy I was able to find the original version.
Published 18 months ago by Rebel Ed
3.0 out of 5 stars Love's Lost
Crime doesn't pay in the 2000s and it didn't pay in the Belle Epoque. Except in the film under review, Casque D'Or, that crime business gets short shrift to the star-crossed love... Read more
Published on June 3, 2012 by Alfred Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific film of love in the underworld
Wonderfully filmed and acted story of tragic love amidst the French
underworld at the turn of the 20th century. Read more
Published on December 24, 2011 by K. Gordon
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Euro love story example from their B&W period.
Good typical quiet european noir from this period of film making. Subdued male lead is interestingly different than American loud-driven lead characters. Read more
Published on November 7, 2011 by Shock Writer
4.0 out of 5 stars An instant classic,
Not being a Becker fan *at all* I guess I can be objective. This film
is enjoyable like if it weren't a classic. Once begun, you'll want to
watch it till the end. Read more
Published on September 24, 2009 by Ignacio Litardo
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Signoret
Jacques Becker's classic romance, cleaned up by Criterion in this splendid new transfer, is essential viewing for anyone interested in French cinema. Read more
Published on September 11, 2007 by Randy Buck
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Loyalty
Having just finished watching two of Jacques Becker's gangster films of the 1950s, "Casque d'Or" ("Golden Hair") and "Touchez pas au grisbi" ("Hands off the loot"), I fear that... Read more
Published on April 8, 2005 by Dadya Vanya
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting French classic.
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

"Casque d'Or" known in English as "Golden Marie" or "Golden Helmet" is a nice French film about... Read more
Published on April 4, 2005 by Ted
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