There is a deceptive simplicity to Becker's work which may explain why, alone among the major film-makers, he has never quite achieved due recognition. This elegant masterwork is a glowingly nostalgic evocation of the Paris of the Impressionists, focusing on the apache underworld and an ill-starred romance that ends on the scaffold, with an elusive density, a probing awareness of emotional complexities, which reminds one that Becker was once Renoir's assistant. Not his equal, perhaps, but the relationship is inescapable in the texture of the movies themselves. Signoret, as voluptuously sensual as a Rubens painting, has never been more stunning than as the Golden Marie of the English title; and she is perfectly partnered by Reggiani, seemingly carved out of mahogany yet revealing an ineffable grace in movement, as the honest carpenter who defies the malevolent apache leader (Dauphin) to claim her. Along with Letter from an Unknown Woman, one of the great movie romances.