French master Max Ophüls’s most cherished work, The Earrings of Madame de… is an emotionally profound, cinematographically adventurous tale of false opulence and tragic romance. When the aristocratic woman known only as Madame de (the extraordinary Danielle Darrieux) sells her earrings, unbeknownst to her husband (Charles Boyer), in order to pay personal debts, she sets off a chain reaction, the financial and carnal consequences of which can only end in despair. Ophuls adapts Louise de Vilmorin’s incisive fin de siècle novel with virtuosic camera work so elegant and precise it’s been called the equal to that of Orson Welles. —The Criterion Collection
Max Ophüls (born Maximillian Oppenheimer, 6 May 1902, Saarbrücken, Germany – 25 March 1957, Hamburg, Germany) was an influential German-born film director who worked in Germany, the United States and France. He made nearly thirty films.
He started his career as a stage actor in 1919 but moved into theatre production in 1924. Two years later, he became creative director of the Burgtheater in Vienna and, having had 200 plays to his credit, turned to film production in 1929, when he became a dialogue director under Anatole Litvak at UFA in Berlin. He worked throughout Germany and directed his first film in 1931, the comedy short Dann schon lieber Lebertran (literally In This Case, Rather Cod-Liver Oil).
Of his early films, the most acclaimed is Liebelei (1933), which included a number of the characteristic elements for which he was to become known: luxurious sets, a feminist attitude, and a duel between a younger and older man.
Predicting… read more
Maybe Ophuls's camera at his most clever. Maybe the key of capturing the balancing act of wit and dramatic despair is being restraint...??? But anyway, this movie, though is more restraint that his other movies, contains a love triangle that burns harder with every frame! I pined for Madame De as her struggles of doing the heart's content conflict with the bullshit social structure. The final shot killed me!
A look at some of the best original French posters for the films in Film Forum’s current series: The French Old Wave.
The Earrings of Madame de… by Max Ophuls is a film like David Lean’s Brief Encounter that comes as close as a film can to a sort of geometrical perfection. Without getting too carried away with abstract… read review
There are several scenes within my viewing of Madame De… last night that are highly worthy to note. Madame De… begins with a simplistic scene in which the film’s protagonist, Louise, is looking through… read review
Madame de… (Max Ophüls, 1953)
So upon 2nd viewing I think Madame de… is probably a perfect movie. A watchful eye and a more rested mind totally improved the experience. It was glorious to see… read review