CASQUE D’OR
1952, Janus Films, 96 min, France, Dir: Jacques Becker

Do not miss this sublime masterpiece of romantic French cinema - simultaneously a heartbreaking adult fairy tale and an impressionist rendering of the turn-of-the-century Parisian underworld. The fleeting moments of shared love and erotic passion between Serge Reggiani and Simone Signoret are genuine poetry - moments cut short by the jealous machinations of others.


THE DAMNED
LES MAUDITS
1947, Cohen Films, 105 min, Dir: René Clément

Claustrophobic action on the high seas has never been so packed with tension when a doctor (Henri Vidal) kidnapped by a group of desperate Nazis fleeing for South America in a submarine must keep the mistress of a general (Florence Marly) alive and somehow escape his own death at the hands of the absconding war criminals. René Clément brilliantly depicts a deadly cat-and-mouse game in the tightest of all possible spaces. The film was the recipient of the Grand Prix at Cannes in 1947. With Marcel Dalio, Anne Campion, Michel Auclair and Paul Bernard. In French with English subtitles.


THE WANTON
MANÈGES
1950, Rialto Pictures, 91 min, Dir: Yves Allégret

We move from the bathtub to the stable as Simone Signoret plays the two-timing wife of a hopeless milquetoast (Bernard Blier, perfect as always), who is in cahoots with her venal, grasping mother (Jane Marken) to milk him of all his funds before moving on to higher game. Things don’t quite go as planned! Director Yves Allégret proved unfortunately prophetic with this nasty tale - a few months after completing the film, Signoret (who had been his girlfriend for five years) left him for Yves Montand. In French with English subtitles.


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