Cinema loves a good romance. Even better when this includes a large slice of tragedy, murder, betrayal and melodrama. However, there’s nothing quite so compelling as a big screen love-triangle. Whether it’s in classics such as Casablanca, Jules et Jim or Gone with the Wind or more modern young adult films such as Twilight and The Hunger Games. Set in Paris during the Belle Époque, director Jacques Becker turns his attention to love in Casque d’Or.
Marie (Simone Signoret) is a beautiful strong-willed woman who finds herself in mired in the demi-monde. She’s Roland’s (William Sabatier) girl and he’s part of a local crime syndicate run by Leca (Claude Dauphin). When Manda (Serge Reggiani), a reformed criminal, enters their lives, Marie is instantly smitten. However, the jealous Roland is having none of it and is prepared to fight for his girl.
Very loosely based on the real-life relationship between Amélie Élie, a prostitute, and the Apache gang leaders Manda and Leca, Casque d’Or is a sumptuous romantic drama. Whilst Becker gives Signoret and Reggiani the space to build up an unmistakable chemistry, much of his focus is on the conflict between Manda and Roland. It’s beautifully shot, and whilst the era is seamlessly brought to life, it doesn’t feel like a period drama. Indeed, it joyfully cavorts between genres. Casque d’Or is a lavish and luxurious look at love between two people from the wrong side of the tracks.
Casque d’Or is released on DVD/Blu-ray/EST by Studiocanal on Monday 21 August.