Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Madame De…
France/Italy, 1953. Franco London Films, Indusfilms, Rizzoli Film. Screenplay by Marcel Achard, Max Ophuls, Adaptation by Annette Wademant, Dialogue by Marcel Achard, based on the novel by Louise de Vilmorin. Cinematography by Christian Matras. Produced by Ralph Baum. Music by Oscar Straus, Georges Van Parys. Production Design by Jean d’Eaubonne. Costume Design by Georges Annenkov, Rosine Delamare. Film Editing by Borys Lewin. Academy Awards 1954.
Max Ophuls was such a master of making films that were incredibly beautiful and so strikingly unimportant. In fact, the shallow romances that inhabited many of his films would have prevented them from being remembered if it wasn’t for his skills in creating images that gave his work the passion that the characters sometimes lack. In this eye-popping spectacle, a Baroness (Danielle Darrieux) decides to sell a pair of earrings that her husband (Charles Boyer) once gave her as a gift, owing to the fact that she has incurred a lot of spending debt that she’d prefer her husband not find out about. The earrings go from hand to hand until they fall into the possession of a playboy aristocrat (Vittorio De Sica) who falls in love with Darrieux and gives them to her as a gift. How two little gems cause so much mayhem in three people’s lives, ranging from the hilarious to the truly tragic, is a wonderful, magical treat to behold, and it never looks any less than fully stunning thanks to Ophuls’ talents.