The Golden Coach “La Carosse dór”
Directed by Jean Renoir
Written by Jean Renoir, Jack Kirkland et al, inspired by “Le Carrosse du Saint-Sacrement” by Prosper Merimee
Repeat viewing/My DVD collection
#261 of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Don Antonio: It will be nice when it’s finished.
This film is Jean Renoir’s valentine to actors and the theater.
It is the Eighteenth Century somewhere in South America. An Italian comedia dell’arte troupe has arrived after a long sea voyage to perform in a ramshackle theater in the capital. Camilla (Anna Magnani), the actress who plays Columbine, has already won the heart of Don Antonio, an expert swordsman and fellow passenger. She promptly proceeds to captivate a bullfighter and the world-weary young viceroy of the colony. Camille’s first love is her audience.
The viceroy is so smitten with her that he decides to present her with his splendid golden coach, which arrived on the same ship as the troupe and in which Camilla slept during the voyage. This meets with disapproval from the local aristocracy which looks down on anything so common as actors. The last act includes a showdown between Camilla’s three suitors.
This is enjoyable for the sheer spectacle of the thing and Magnani’s performance. She seems to be having a fine time in the role alternating between her stiffer stage performances and her off-stage self. Somehow, though, I find it lacks sufficient “oomph” in a way I can’t quite put my finger on.