Thursday, April 16, 2009

Casque d'or (1952)

Casque d'or (=Golden Helmet) refers to Marie's hair style and colour. Casque d'or is Marie. Played brilliantly by Simone Signoret, Marie is the girlfriend of Roland, a gang member lead by Leca (Claude Dauphin). The movie begins with the gang and their ladies spend a happy time rowing in the Marne river and then go into a dance hall, where Marie meets carpenter Georges Manda (Serge Reggiani), an old friend of Raymond, also a member of the gang. Marie and Manda fall in love with each other. The angry Roland challenge Manda for a duel where Rolland is killed. Leca, who wants Marie for himself, grasses to the police that Raymond is the killer, despite the fact that it was Leca who suggested that the duel used a knife. Seeing his best friend in jail, Manda gives himself up to the police. However, the police don't release Raymond, accusing him as an accessory to murder, because he carries a pocket-watch belonged to the victim - again, it was Leca who suggested that Raymond kept the watch for souvenir. Raymond learns that Leca is the grass. [Perhaps the police inspector writes the grass's name deliberately, in hope that Raymond will see it and tell his friends - that means less problem for the police. Why such an important thing he writes? It's much better if he only whispers the name to the other police's ear. I don't think Raymond will hear.] Marie helps both Manda and Raymond to flee, but Raymond is shot and later dies. Manda, who knows he will be guillotined anyway for Roland's murder, kills Leca to revenge Raymond.

The black & white images are beautiful. Jacques Becker, the director, transferred this story of passion to screen very well. The movie ends with Marie watching her lover's death by guillotine, from a room located opposite the prison, which she rents for that night.

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