A rare print of the very early Jacques Cousteau offering.
I suppose this must be one of the earliest examples of Cousteau marine photography, albeit confined to a living room goldfish bowl.
This one has Edmond Sechan at the helm, one time collaborator of Deny Colombs Daunant who helmed 'Dream Of The Wild Horses'.
Beautifully told through stunning Amelie - esque images, nuanced acting and a stunning musical score.
There is no dialogue.
An anonymours French city.
The day ends.
A factory shuts and workers rush out.
A school closes and pupils scurry home.
A woman heads off to the shops.
One schoolboy, a latch-key kid gets home.
He lives in a stylish, low rent, modernist apartment block.
Great mid-cenury modern wallpaper.
He feeds his caged bird.
He grabs some change and an empty milk bottle then h¬eads off outside to buy more milk.
He passes his mother who is on her way home.
She is the woman we saw earlier leaving the factory.
Grabs an empty milk bottle then heads off outside to buy more milk.
On his way to the shops he is distracted by a travelling fair.
Tempted he enters, quickly forgetting about the milk.
He checks his change. Perhaps he can have a wager.
He only has enough money for the milk.
Ace shots of a colourful 1950s fair – the dodgems.
There is a roulette wheel stall.
Guess the number on which it stops and win one of the fishes in the tank.
The tank is full of dull grey fish and one startlingly golden one.
The boy is sorely tempted.
He has fallen in love with the golden fish.
He checks the money in his pocket.
Alas, he only has enough for milk.
A weird looking bulky chap arrives. He looks wealthy and has a bit of a Topol beard.
He has also spotted the golden fish.
He has a bet but loses.
The boy goes off to get the milk.
The man keeps betting hoping to win the fish.
Eventually he bets on all the numbers so he cannot lose.
The boy returns – with a full bottle of milk.
He squeezes his way to the front in time to see the large man win.
The man points out to the stall owner which fish he wants – the golden one.
The boy is crestfallen.
The stall holder uses a small net on a pole to get the winning prize out of the tank.
The golden fish is elusive. He does not want to go with the lardy, hirsute chap.
There is a small, hollow rock at the base of the tank.
The fish takes refuge inside this rock.
The big mans loses his patience and grabs a poled net himself to try to dislodge the fish and net it himself.
As he struggles to free the fish, he knocks the boys milk over.
The bottle smashes.
The man looks at the boy.
He gives him two shiny coins as recompense for the breakage.
It is clearly more than we saw when the boy checked whether he could afford to play on the stall.
Once he has paid the boy, he turns back to the tank but the stall-holder has already held out a plastic bag containing a grey fish.
The big man is not happy but has no option but to accept his ‘prize’.
The boy looks at his new coins.
He knows he can afford to play on the stall.
He has a bet.
The fish happily swims into the net.
He is presented with the golden fish in a plastic bag.
We see a black cat near his home.
Doom laden music replaces the jaunty, twangy guitar on the soundtrack.
We see the cat stalking the staircase of the boys apartment block.
He rummages through rubbish bins.
We see the boy at home with his mother.
She sends him off to school.
Shot of the factory where she works.
Shot of the school where the boy studies.
Crazy Afro-Cuban jazz on the soundtrack.
The fish dances with his reflection in the bowl.
The bird in the cage is fascinated.
We see the black cat stalking the staircase outside.
Someone left the window open.
The black cat is inside.
He is tempted by the bird.
Can he get inside the cage?
Can he get his claws on the fish?
I will not reveal the denouement of this suspenseful section so as not to ruin it for you.
Suffice to say, this great film has a climax that does not disappoint.
16mm. Colour. Sound. Cored. Approx. 800ft.
NB: Splicey at front. Has some fade and fine lines (see images). Does not detract from the enjoyment of this classic short. Sold as is, no returns.