Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Golden Coach (1952)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Golden Coach (1952, Fr./It.) (aka Le Carrosse D'or)

In director Jean Renoir's Technicolored, historical romantic costume-drama farce about the choice between art and worldly love - the first of a trilogy (followed by French Cancan (1955), and Elena And Her Men (1956)) - set in colonial Peru in the late 18th century, in a South American town:

  • the film's staging - a "play-within-a-play" - signified by an opening curtain
  • the central character: a rag-tag touring Italian theatre company star Camilla (Anna Magnani in her English-language debut) - a boisterous, earthy, vulgar, voluptuous and passionate performer
  • her difficult choice of love among three competing suitors (male archetypes), who were willing to offer her riches or duel for her attention:

    - Ferdinand (Duncan Lamont), an arrogant, refined and powerful royal Spanish figure - a Viceroy - who extravagantly and amorously offered Camilla his own luxurious, imported and gilded "golden coach"
    - Ramon (Riccardo Rioli), the area's famous hot-headed, manly and vain Toreador (bullfighter)
    - Felipe (Paul Campbell), a handsome, humble yet brave young Spanish Castilian officer-soldier, who met her on the boat ride over from Italy

  • the competition for Camilla's love was mirrored in the troupe's commedia del’arte performance, with Camilla (as Columbina) pursued by - among others: Arlequin (Dante), Polichinelle (Alfredo Medini), and Florindo (Alfredo Kolner)
  • the scenes of Camilla's difficulty in making a commitment - between worldly real-life suitors and the illusionary world of the theatre and its audiences; and her concluding meditative musings: "Where is truth? Where does the theatre end and life begin?"
  • the concluding sequence -- Camilla was on the stage after all three suitors had departed, when she was advised by her troupe's director and leader, Don Antonio (Odoardo Spadaro), who was standing on the side of the stage - he told her that should could realize her true self only on stage: "Don't waste your time in the so-called real life. You belong to us, the actors, acrobats, mimes, clowns, mountebanks. Your only way to find happiness is on any stage, any platform, any public place, during those two little hours when you become another person - your true self"
Don Antonio: "Do you miss them?"
Camilla Alone on the Stage
- Ready to Remain in the
Illusionary World on the Stage
  • when the curtain fell behind Camilla, she was left alone on the solitary stage; she asked: "Felipe, Ramon, the Viceroy disappeared, gone. Don't they exist anymore?"; Don Antonio answered: "Disappeared. Now they are a part of the audience. Do you miss them?" - Camilla sentimentally admitted: "A little"; but she had made her enlightened choice to determine her own fate - and to follow her true self on the stage

The Opening Curtain

Theatre Star Camilla


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