Jean Renoir, Jack Kirkland, Renzo Avanzo, and Giulio Macchi (writers, based on a play by Prosper Mérimée), Jean Renoir (director) Le Carosse d'Or (The Golden Coach) / 1952, released in the US in 1954
Into a backwater Peruvian town of the eighteenth century come an Italian commedia dell'arte troupe, promised a theater and hotel rooms. The local inn has neither and the inn keeper is determined to keep 60% of their profits. Fortunately, they have traveled with their star's, Camilla (played by Anna Magnani), lover, Don Antonio (Odoardo Spadaro), who demands and gets a fairer share.
Next door lives Ferdinand, the Viceroy—whose overdressed mistress and bewigged ministers and servants clearly bore him—overhears the theatergoers applause, which intrigues him enough to invite the theater company to perform in his home, despite his courtier's disdain.
Love, of course, follows, with a hilarious series of crisscrossed dalliances, lies, and duels straight out of both commedia dell'arte theater and 19th century farce. Throughout, Renoir frames his various theatrical imitations in a rich Technicolor palette of golds, reds, greens, and blues, as his Columbine plays out love and treachery again and again.
Los Angeles, April 18, 2010