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The Earrings of Madame de (1953)

äҹҴٵç : Ҿ¹ͧӡѺ Max Ophüls ⴴ蹴¡͹ǡͧҧҺ ´ çԷԾŵͼӡѺѧҡ· Stanley Kubrick ੾ Paul Thomas Anderson (ӡѺ Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, The Master) й˹ѧͧ ˹ѧԧʡҢ͡Ẻͧ觡ʹ



Director:Max Ophuls Producer: Ralph BaumWritten by:Marcel Achard, Max Ophüls, Annette Wademant, Marcel Achard

Story by:Louise de Vilmorin (novel) Music:Oscar Straus , Georges Van Parys  Cinematography:Christian Matras  Edited:Borys Lewin   

Running time:105 min Country:France Language:French Genre: Drama, Romance Subtitle:English 

Starring:Charles Boyer ... Général André de..., Danielle Darrieux ... Comtesse Louise de..., Vittorio De Sica ... Baron Fabrizio Donati,
Jean Debucourt ... Monsieur Rémy, Jean Galland ... Monsieur de Bernac, Mireille Perrey ... La Nourrice, Paul Azaïs ... Le premier cocher,
Josselin,  Hubert Noël ... Henri de Maleville, Lia Di Leo ... Lola


French master Max Ophulss 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 Vilmorins incisive fin de siècle novel with virtuosic camera work so elegant and precise its been called the equal to that of Orson Welles.

Special Features:
- New, restored high-definition digital transfer
- Audio commentary featuring film scholars Susan White and Gaylyn Studlar
- Introduction by filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson (14:27)
- Interviews with Ophuls collaborators Alain Jessua (25:27), Marc Frédérix (8:12), and Annette Wademant (6:49)
- A visual analysis of the movie by film scholar Tag Gallagher (17:19)
- Interview with novelist Louise de Vilmorin on Ophuls''s adaptation of her story (4:44)
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- A booklet featuring a new essay by Molly Haskell, an excerpt from costume designer Georges Annenkov''s 1962 book Max Ophuls, and the 78-page source novel, Madame de, by Louise de Vilmorin

Awards:  Nominated for 1 Oscar.


Academy Awards, USA 1955

Best Costume Design, Black-and-White
Georges Annenkov 
Rosine Delamare 


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For the five-year period from 1950-55 (shortly before he died), Max Ophuls was arguably the world''s greatest filmmaker, creating LA RONDE, LE PLAISIR, LOLA MONTES, and this masterful study of a tragic, three-cornered romance.

THE EARRINGS OF MADAME DE opens brilliantly as the Countess Louise de (Darrieux; her character''s last name is obscured throughout the story) searches through her belongings for something to sell. The camera glides along as she examines furs, a necklace, a cross, and finally a pair of diamond earrings she received as a wedding present from her husband, General Andre de (Boyer). When she pretends that the earrings have been stolen, the general begins a search, eventually recovering them discreetly from the jeweler to whom his wife sold them. The general gives the earrings to his mistress (di Leo), who later loses them while gambling with Baron Donati (De Sica). Upon returning to Paris, the Baron falls in love with the Countess, giving her a gift meant to express his deepest affection.

EARRINGS is masterfully told in both verbal and visual terms. The genteel, brittle dialogue traces an elliptical path to tragedy while the relentlessly mobile camera dollies and pans around the stiflingly ornate rooms that Ophuls''s characters inhabit. The star trio of Darrieux, Boyer and De Sica have rarely been better, playing characters whose narcissism deepens to obsession and, ultimately, desperation. The film''s lush visual style is a perfect, ironic backdrop for the superficialities of the society explored, particularly in the famous ballroom sequence where the Countess and the Baron first become aware of their ill-fated love.
TV Guide

The Earrings of Madame de is Max Ophulss masterpiece, the film that most thoroughly embodies his aesthetic and romantic sensibilities, intertwining the two in a beautiful waltz, which not incidentally, also happens to be the narrative centerpiece of the film. Ophulss gorgeously pronounced long takes and fluid camera movements, which some have derided as showy or pretentious, are key to the films emotional structure, both emphasizing the sometimes fateful, sometimes ironic interconnections among its tragic characters and underscoring the decadent luxury of turn-of-the-century Parisian aristocracy. Ophulss films are always beautiful, but The Earrings of Madame de is particularly striking in the way it harmoniously marries visual technique with its romantic narrative, which in other hands could have easily been turgid melodrama.

The earrings of the title are a gift from a general (Charles Boyer) to his younger wife, Louise (Danielle Darrieux), the Madame de of the title (their last name is never explicitly stated, suggesting a kind of universality despite their upper-class prominence). In the films opening sequence, Louise decides to sell them in order to pay for a gambling debt; she chooses these particular earringslarge, heart-shaped diamondsbecause they mean nothing to her, which is the first of the films many ironies given that they later become, in her eyes, the embodiment of love itself. The jeweler to whom she sells the earrings alerts the general, who then buys them back and gives them as a gift to his mistress (Lia Di Leo), who then sells them in Constantinople when she loses all her money at the roulette table (the fact that the earrings are constantly being sold to pay for gambling debts is suggestive of the fateful nature of lifesometimes you win, sometimes you lose). They are then purchased by Fabrizio Donati (the great neorealist director Vittorio De Sica), an Italian baron who fatefully crosses paths with Louise. They end up falling in love, and he gives the earrings back to her as a romantic gift, completely unaware of their origin.

Although the circular journey of the earrings is completeleaving Louise as simple objects and then returning to her as symbols of great passionthe story has only reached the beginning of its second act, and the earrings take on new meaning and cause Louise to tell a series of lies to both accommodate her new relationship with Donati and to create a ruse under which she can wear the earrings in public. The web of deceit that she weaves, partially for her own protection and partially to ensure a sort of purity in her blossoming romance, becomes the noose that eventually strangles her, as it puts her at odds with both ends of the romantic triangle in which she is ensnared.

What is most amazing about Ophulss film is the manner in which he stages this conflict of love and possession without making any of the characters villains, but rather victims of their own actions. The general is a commanding, strict figure who seems incapable of genuine affection (which is perhaps why Louise has never truly loved him), but we feel sympathy for his position even as we recognize his hypocrisy (the earrings wind up back with Louise, after all, because he gave them to a mistress). On the other hand, Louise deceives all the men around her, but arguably it is in the pursuit of true love with no malicious intent. As far as Donati goes, as a baron and diplomat he has a certain code of honor to uphold, thus we cannot blame him entirely when he misunderstands Louises white lies as a kind of betrayal and acts accordingly.

Like Ophulss other French-language films of the 1950s, The Earrings of Madame de is an opulent spectacle, the frame filled with lavish mise-en-scène and decadent characters whose perch at the upper stratum of society would seem to render them superficial, but in fact underscores the universality of love, passion, and the conflict they engender. Although the film unspools in ridiculously appointed bedrooms, drawing rooms, smoking rooms, and grand halls, Ophulss underlying humanity is the thing we remember. It is also telling that the film identifies primarily with Louise (a trademark of Ophulss oeuvre) and traces her development from an empty vessel of upper-class society to a romantic whose ultimately tragedy is her broken heart. Described as an incorrigible flirt by her own husband, Louise proves to be a woman of great feeling, who, like many of Ophulss heroines, is torn apart by her own romantic calamities. The heightened sense of emotion throughout The Earrings of Madame de is perfectly modulated by Ophulss precise framing and fluid camerawork, which cohere with the beauty of a perfectly tuned waltz into what is clearly one of the masterworks of the French Cinema of Quality.
James Kendrick, QNetwork