Belatedly hailed as one of the great films about acting; certainly, a stunning visual example of the use of color. Marking Jean Renoir's return to France after his decade in Hollywood and his short period in India filming THE RIVER, THE GOLDEN COACH has often been seen as the key to
understanding all the director's work.
Filmed in English at Rome's Cinecitta studios, the film stars Anna Magnani as Camilla, a commedia dell'arte performer who, with her ragtag troupe, arrives in Peru to open a new theater. Already pursued by Felipe (Paul Campbell), Camilla captures the hearts of the vain bullfighter Ramon (Riccardo
Rioli) and the Viceroy (Duncan Lamont). Swept away by Camilla's charms and attracted to the vulgar manner that is so alien to his aristocratic experience, the Viceroy presents her with his prized golden coach, a beautifully crafted vehicle that had been used solely for royal business. As the drama
rolls on and Camilla struggles to differentiate between reality and the stage, all three of her suitors vie for her love--the Viceroy learning to feel "common" emotions; Ramon impressing her with his manliness; and Felipe inviting her to live with him in the wilderness among the "noble savages."
Opening and closing with a stage curtain, THE GOLDEN COACH is Jean Renoir's invitation to sit back and enjoy the colorful, romantic, humorous spectacle that is real life. While artists have often addressed the confusion of reality and fiction, few have done it with as much grace and love as
Renoir. Much of the film's success, however, is due to the brilliant Magnani. THE GOLDEN COACH does not so much star Magnani as it exists because of her. It is her film and everything in it thrives because of the life she breathes into it.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Belatedly hailed as one of the great films about acting; certainly, a stunning visual example of the use of color. Marking Jean Renoir's return to France after his decade in Hollywood and his short period in India filming THE RIVER, THE GOLDEN COACH has of… (more)