Marcel Ophüls (born November 1, 1927) is a documentary film maker and former actor. He was born in Frankfurt, Germany, the son of the director Max Ophüls. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1950.
The son of director Max Ophüls, Marcel had a peripatetic childhood, which commentators have suggested facilitated his objective documentary accounts of the French national psyche. After education at Hollywood High while his father worked for the studios during the 1940s, Marcel served with the US occupying forces in Japan. When the family returned to Paris in 1950 Marcel became an assistant to Julien Duvivier and Anatole Litvak, and worked on John Huston’s Moulin Rouge (1952) and his father’s Lola Montès (1955). Through François Truffaut, Ophüls got to direct an episode of the portmanteau film Love At Twenty (1962). There followed the commercial hit Banana Peel (1964), a detective film starring Jeanne Moreau and Jean-Paul Belmondo.
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Marcel Ophuls, in both his four-hour films about the Second World War and a major war criminal, The Sorrow And The Pity and Hotel Terminus, his interviewees have a clear part to play in the story. Ophuls frames his argument with each of them to get the most economic story from their lips detailing from some their humanity or heroism and from others, their complicity in the barbarism of the Nazi ideology. A master.