Jean Renoir Tony Richardson - Essay

Tony Richardson

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

A film with as many defects as The Golden Coach needs some extraordinary compensation. Its construction is lopsided; its narrative confused; its presentation is careless and often undramatic; its dialogue is frequently banal; and the acting in it ranges, with one exception, from the inadequate to the atrocious. Its compensation is not that it is utterly personal but that the creative personality revealed by the film, for all its flaws, is so utterly charming. (p. 198)

"Where does the theatre end and life begin?" is the question behind the whole film. It is characteristic, too, of Renoir, that when, as here, and even more frequently in The River, he reduces an idea to which he has responded with all the richness of his sensibility to a line of dialogue, it sounds at once portentous and trite.

If this wider, almost visionary, reference is the very fabric of the film, it is not allowed to obscure our delight in the texture of the fabric itself. Visually the film … is breath-taking. Its beauty lies, unusually, in colour rather than the compositional values. (p. 199)

Tony Richardson, "Film Reviews: 'The Golden Coach'," in Sight and Sound (copyright © 1954 by The British Film Institute), Vol. 23, No. 4, April-June, 1954, pp. 198-99.