Scen.: Jacques Becker, Jacques Companéez. F.: Robert Le Febvre. M.: Marguerite Renoir. Scgf.: Jean d’Eaubonne. Mus.: Georges Van Parys. Int.: Simone Signoret (Maria, ‘Casco d’oro’), Serge Reggiani (Georges Manda), Claude Dauphin (Félix Leca), Raymond Bussières (Raymond), Gaston Modot (Danard), Loleh Bellon (Léonie Danard), Roland Lesaffre (Anatole), William Sabatier (Roland Dupuis), Claude Castaing (Frédo), Dominique Davray (Julie). Prod.: Robert e Raymond Hakim, Michel Safra, per Speva- Films e Paris-Films Productions. DCP. D.: 96’. Bn.
When I reviewed Casque d’or in England, I sought to identify the spark that makes Becker’s film shine so brightly and concluded that, in the end, it was due to “a pleasing attraction to facts and gestures”. With this phrase, I wanted to emphasise the complicity that exists between Becker and what we could term ‘the superficial’. This is not to say that he is a superficial director; rather that for him the superficial is never out of place. He is fascinated by objects and set design and the way in which they reveal the thoughts, convictions and emotions of the men and women who inhabit them. It is clear that such a talent works best with contemporary, rather than historical, stories and it is this that makes Casque d’or stand out compared to the director’s later films.
It is nevertheless notable that, despite his fascination with set design, Becker did everything he could to ensure that Casque d’or would be realistic, as is evident from the final sequences, which are as relentless and extraordinary as Rossellini at his best (a few scenes from Roma Open City and the final episode of Paisà), but which also possess a power that ensures his complete aesthetic control over the story.
Lindsay Anderson, Lettre anglaise sur Becker, “Cahiers du cinéma”, n. 28, November 1953