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Closeted Worlds Double Feature: CASQUE D’OR, 1952, Janus Films, 96 min. 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. In French with English subtitles.
THE PROUD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (LES ORGUEILLEUX), 1953, Pathé, 103 min. Was director Yves Allegret “answering” Henri-Georges Clouzot with this film, where the setting is highly reminiscent of the oppressive atmosphere permeating THE WAGES OF FEAR? Here, however, there is no harrowing adventure tale at the dark center of the story – only the ravaged lives of two lost souls (Gérard Philipe, a doctor whose dalliance in a sweltering Mexican town has reduced him to a hopeless drunk; Michèle Morgan, a woman whose life hangs in the balance once her disreputable husband dies during the outset of a raging typhoid epidemic). What happens to these two is the crux of this powerful melo-noir that dares to take both of them to the brink of degradation, with only the barest chance of escape. Adapted by Jean Aurenche from a play by Jean-Paul Sartre. In French and Spanish with English subtitles.