Ophuls didn't make it look effortless; he simply made it look flawless. Perfection that produces a sense of awe and the (accurate) impression that nobody else could have made it.

The original French posters for the film are much more picturesque and colorful. I especially like this design by Rojac (1913-1997)...

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Another, more conventional, German design by “Schubert”:

Evanescence is an integral part of cinema, and no other director captured it as lyrically and yet as savagely as Ophüls.

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“One of the most deftly handled balancing acts I've ever seen in its carefully constructed tone. If only Madame de... herself were as gifted as Ophuls.”

Though we fully expected our special edition of Max Ophuls’s long-unavailable The Earrings of Madame de . . . to garner a lot of attention from movie lovers everywhere (this is, after all, the . . . Read more »

Michel is released from jail after serving a sentence for thievery. His mother dies and he resorts to pickpocketing as a means of survival.

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

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“One of the most beautifuly shot film of the fifties. Darrieux and De Sica are charming. Ophuls is a true master.”

The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her.

A superb film and a matchless trio of performances.

“Perfection,” proclaimed the late Pauline Kael, in one of her more perceptive pronouncements. And David Thomson delivers an eloquent encomium to Ophüls with a remarkably expansive entry in his much-honored The New Biographical History of Film.

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Bardone, a petty con man, is arrested by the Gestapo and coerced into impersonating a partisan leader in order to expose another resistance organizer.

The summer 2009 issue of Film Quarterly (now in its fiftieth year!) is out, and in it renowned professor and film theorist Laura Mulvey presents a close reading of Max Ophuls’s The Earrings of . . . Read more »

Such movement is what influenced a young Stanley Kubrick, whose visual structure -- graceful tracking shots and medium coverage punctured by rare but arresting inserts -- is a descendant of Ophüls.

Intertextual dance Top right: Letter from an Unknown Woman. A Rampart Production © 1948 BBC. DVD: Second Sight (U.K.). Others: The Earrings of Madame de… © 1953 Gaumont-Rizzoli Films. DVD: Criterion Collection.

“I was quite pleasantly surprised by this movie, as I expected something of a drab and dry film. It's plenty passionate, however, and worth the view.”

A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau.

Max Ophüls' French 1953 production is widely regarded as one of the German-born director's best, and Criterion's presentation lives up to that reputation.

The film tells the tragic story of Lola Montès, a great adventurer who becomes the main attraction of a circus after being the lover of various important European men.

In any event, three good reasons you should see The Earrings of Madame de … are the presence and performances of Danielle Darrieux, Charles Boyer and Vittorio De Sica. This celestial triangle has never been surpassed in grace, charm and, yes, wit and humor.

On one hand, Madame De . . . is all surface and style; on the other, it conveys real loss.

This week marks the first occasion of the Criterion Blogathon, a massive movie lovefest organized by the film blog Criterion Blues. Read more »

Swoony yet unsentimental, Max Ophuls’s magnificent melodrama measures the importance of authenticity. Read more »

The Earrings Of Madame De . .

A pianist about to flee from a duel receives a letter from a woman he cannot remember, who may hold the key to his downfall.

A elderly man and his dog struggle to survive on his government pension in Rome.

An all-knowing interlocutor guides us through a series of affairs in Vienna, 1900. A soldier meets an eager young lady of the evening. Later he has an affair with a young lady, who becomes ... See full summary »

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The family of a Parisian shop-owner spends a day in the country. The daughter falls in love to a man at the inn, where they spend the day.

LAURA MULVEY is the 2008–09 Mary Cornille Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Newhouse Center for the Humanities, Wellesley College.

...and this by Guy Gérard Noël (1912-1994)...

It's full of characteristically graceful tracking shots, the editing is superb, and in her third consecutive Ophüls film Darrieux has never looked more entrancing.

Posters courtesy of KinoArt.net, Terry Posters and Heritage Auctions.