Tumultuous Tabloid Tonic, Circa 1900: Jacques Becker’s Casque d’or in 35mm

The Patio Theater – 6008 W Irving Park Road – $5.00 per ticket
For the full schedule of classic film screenings at the Patio, please click here.

04B CASQUEWednesday, September 25 @ 7:30pm
Directed by Jacques Becker • 1952
Simone Signoret stars as Marie, a prostitute whose great golden curls supply the film’s title (Casque d’or, or Golden Helmet). She’s the moll of the underachieving gangster Raymond and a lustful fixation for Raymond’s boss, Leca, but Marie really loves Manda (Serge Reggiani), a reformed criminal-turned-carpenter. Naturally, her desires threaten to tear apart the Belle Epoque underworld. Based on an infamous case that dominated French newspapers in 1902 and brought to the screen with a magnificently detailed vision of vice from days gone by, Casque d’or gave French classicism a good, full-blooded name and pointed the way toward a pure and purposeful style for Jean Luc-Godard and François Truffaut. Critic and novelist G. Cabrera Infante has described the film most poetically: “Becker has achieved a faithful portrait of fin de siècle Paris. But on this occasion it was not the amiable brush of the impressionists, but the steely burin of an engraver, describing the Parisian bas-fonds with the sound and fury of a Goya of the banlieux.” In French with English subtitles. (KW)
94 min • Spéva Films • 35mm from Janus Films


And coming next week: Sylvia Sidney may be down, but she’s not out!

Wednesday, October 2 @ 7:30pm
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock • 1936
Beginning with the bones of Joseph Conrad’s novel The Secret Agent and re-imagining the material to his own ends, Hitchcock fashions Sabotage into a preternaturally stoic and chilling affair. Conrad’s Verloc was a swarthy foreigner hatching an anarchist plot from his lewd general store. In Hitchcock’s version, Verloc (Oscar Homolka) has found an even better cover: he runs a cinema with his wife, Sylvia Sidney. We could tell you all about the ingenious investigation of anti-terrorism agent John Loder and the terrible plot that he cannot unravel in time, but let’s be honest about something: we love this movie primarily because it features Sylvia Sidney selling movie tickets, sweeping up the theater, and watching cartoons—just like us! Underrated in its day but subsequently acclaimed as the summit of Hitchcock’s British period by Dave Kehr and Raymond Durgnat, Sabotage perhaps achieved its greatest visibility in 2009 when Quentin Tarantino lifted a clip to illustrate the perils of nitrate film in Inglourious Basterds. (KW)
77 min • Gaumont British Pictures Corp. • 35mm from Park Circus

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