I used to dislike Ophuls cinematic style because of Letter From an Unknown Woman and La Ronde, i find them too melancholic and uninteresting plot-wise, but this film.. everything are just perfectly placed, it has Mannerist composition quality, every movement are articulately calculated. The Brechtian distancing used very effectively on Lola. the criticism of aristocracy, both in social and cinema are hilarious.
Although I've always been mystified as to many critics' claims to this film's greatness, this has one of the great endings in cinema. Selling her hands for kisses through bars in a cage. It's worth stumping up to get the Criterion Blu-ray of this one if you're a fan.
Upon a second viewing, this film left me tremendously cold and empty compared to "La Ronde", "The Earrings of Madame De..." and "Letter from an Unknown Woman". It lacked their beautiful mix of sadness and joy. Maybe I'm missing something, but I plan on watching it again for a third time and to give the commentary a good listen to. I love Ophuls and felt awful that I didn't like this film as much as I wanted to.
Cette somptueuse représentation nous montre, entre autres, sa relation amoureuse avec Liszt, son aventure avec un prestigieux chef d'orchestre transalpin, sa liaison avec le roi Louis 1er de Bavière, son mariage manqué avec un ancien soupirant de sa mère... www.cinefiches.com
Beautiful? Definitely, and some interesting points made about the "everything is for sale and use" -mentality. Unfortunately, this just seemed more like a colourful chaos, and ultimately disappointing and a tad too ambitious for an Ophüls film. There's no intimacy left, nor the quietly sad tone that I've liked so far in his other works.
Maybe I am not a fan of melodrama, but this film, as visually stunning as it is in set design and cinematography, is actually pretty dull and boring story-wise. It is a multi-layered retrospective confession narrative focused on the many loves Lola Montes has had over history, some of them noteworthy and powerful. The circus scenes were the most interesting, but apart from the designs of the flashbacks, lackluster.