Tuesday, October 20, 2015

252. Le Carrosse d'or/The Golden Coach (1953)

Running Time: 102 minutes
Directed By: Jean Renoir
Written By: Renzo Avanzo, Jack Kirkland, Ginette Doynel, Giulio Macchi, Jean Renoir, from the play Le Carrosse de Saint-Sacrement by Prosper Merimee
Main Cast: Anna Magnani, Odoardo Spadaro, Nada Fiorelli, Dante, Duncan Lamont


Boy, I've been really into tea drinking lately. I've always been a staunch tea man, as opposed to a coffee drinker, but lately I've been going a little nutso. Had my first cup of darjeeling tea this a.m. and this past Saturday I enjoyed a double dose of "English Teatime" from Bigelow, for breakfast. I even managed to track down a pumpkin spice and vanilla cinnamon so that I'm IN season. Oh yeah - The Golden Coach...

The film is directed by a Frenchman, set in Peru and in the language of English, which, according to many, is the language that Renoir preferred the film in. So we're multicultural right off the bat. The film is set in the 18th century and begins with the purchase of an extravagant golden coach by the Viceroy of a small town. It is this same small town that a troupe of actors converge on, ready to sing, dance, act and perform, hopefully to make a dollar. Meanwhile, the Viceroy tells his mistress that the coach will be hers, as she watches it pull up, shining in gold from carriage to wheels. The next night, however, the Viceroy watches the performance from the actors, who are initially shunned by the aristocratic community for being lowly, and falls in love with the leading lady, Camilla (Magnani). He invites her back to his quarters where they hit it off and later, falls head over heels in love with her, shunning his previous mistress and promising the coach to Camilla, instead. Meanwhile, war is at hand in the kingdom of the Viceroy and the council of nobility are threatening to strip the Viceroy of all his power, if he does not return to his senses and give up the golden coach in favor of war efforts. Even more in the meanwhile, Camilla's former lover, Felipe is shunned, as Camilla's heart is divided in three, between the Viceroy, Felibe and a bullfighter.

I think we all know by now that yours truly doesn't care much for period pieces. I care for them even less when they're as uninteresting as The Golden Coach - a film that I did not take to. Okay, okay, so it was mildly entertaining and amusing, but only mildly and ultimately, I don't think it had any place in the pages of THE BOOK. I feel like this is just another example of THE BOOK trying to be cute with it's selections and Schneider & company trying to come off as more clever than they actually are. "Oh let's pick a late Renoir - that'll impress the snobs, surely!". However, I am not impressed by some of their more snobbish choices and am in the camp that thinks they should've stuck with truly trying to select the 1001 most important/best films, even if that meant leaving out a South African picture or even a late Renoir.

Okay, let's not get into summing up THE BOOK, as a whole, just yet. There will be plenty of time for that when I'm all done. As for The Golden Coach, I don't think I was ever going to like this. Maybe if it caught me on a good day, I would've been a little less brutal. Perhaps I'd have been a little more charmed by Anna Magnani, who this time around, I thought came off as mildly annoying and frankly, uncharming. So uncharming, in fact, that the prospect of three men fighting over her was too silly to buy into. Otherwise and again I say, it was a period piece and I just can't get into the whole powdered wigs thing. In fact, if someone out there is tallying up a list of my dislikes, add "movies where powdered wigs is a necessity of the prop department" to the "nay" column. I tried with this one, I really did. There was a chunk there, in the middle, where I thought things were perking up a bit. I definitely dug Duncan Lamont and thought he did a fine job as the swooned Viceroy who sends his people to war, all for the want of a woman and a golden coach he made into a gift. Otherwise, though, this was a stinker of high proportions. NEXT!

RATING: 3.5/10  I was gonna go '4', but I feel like that's a bit too much, so I knocked it down a peg. Man, the fact that this movie came complete with an intro by Martin Scorsese really had me have high hopes that quickly vanished.


October 20, 2015  11:49am


  1. Yeah, you are quite on the money with this one. The main problem I think is that there is just no point to the movie. The story is going nowhere and boils down to: who of these three clowns should the clown-actress pick?

    1. Yeah, like I said, I just don't know about this choice. There really wasn't anything unique or special about this movie and certainly nothing "must see".

  2. I'm going to be boring again .. It passed without touching the sides. Nothing to add ..


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