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Casque d'Or (The Criterion Collection)

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

IN AN OPEN-AIR DANCE HALL, THE MEMBERS OF LECA'S GANG ARE RELAXING WITH THEIR LADIES. ONE OF THEM, MARIE AKA 'CASQUE D'OR' MEETS MANDA, A CARPENTER. HER MAN ROLAND BELONGS TO THE JEALOUS KIND, & LECA HIMSELF HAS HIS EYE ON HER. A STORY OF LOVE, DEATH, FRIENDSHIP & JEALOUSY DURING THE BELLE EPOQUE.

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

Product Details

  • Actors: Simone Signoret, Serge Reggiani, Claude Dauphin, Raymond Bussières, Odette Barencey
  • Directors: Jacques Becker
  • Writers: Jacques Becker, Annette Wademant, Jacques Companéez, Romi
  • 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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006HC0GY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,490 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Casque d'Or (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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"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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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Wonderfully filmed and acted story of tragic love amidst the French
underworld at the turn of the 20th century.

The complex, layered relationships, and subtle manipulations and
interplay between the characters show the hallmark of all Jacques
Becker's work, an interest in the subtle details of human behavior and
emotion, instead of grand, sweeping, complex plots.

Both romantic and cynical, and filmed without any attempt to create a
cliché 'period' look, this brings an air of reality and immediacy to a
story that in other hands seem familiar, maudlin, or trite.

The Criterion transfer is excellent (no surprise).
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