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Archive for March 11th, 2009

madame20de___20criterion5019-720 

by Allan Fish

(France 1953 105m) DVD2

Aka. The Earrings of Madame de…

Hearts will never be practical until they can be safely sold

p  H.Baum, Ralph Baum  d  Max Ophuls  w  Marcel Achard, Annette Wademant, Max Ophuls  novel  Louise de Vilmorin  ph  Christian Matras  ed  Boris Lewin  m  Oscar Straus, Georges Van Parys  art  Jean d’Eaubonne  cos  Georges Annenkov, Rosine Delamare

Danielle Darrieux (Countess Louise de…), Charles Boyer (Gen.André de…), Vittorio de Sica (Baron Fabrizio Donati), Jean Debucourt (Mons.Remy), Lia de Léa (Lola), Mireille Perry (nurse), Jean Galland (Bernac), Hubert Noel (Henri de Malville), Leon Walther (theatre manager),

Someone once said of Max Ophuls that the mere mention of his name makes all cameras stand rigidly to attention.  Never was it more evident than here in this wonderfully cynical yet romantic eulogy to the very idea of romance and, indeed, truth.  Its protagonists belong to an altogether more civilised era, but an era no less open to falsehood and deceit.  “I lie so badly” the heroine tells her husband, but both we and the husband know the opposite is true.  Yet he doesn’t mind, the reason being that he is equally adept at deceit.  It also seems to have a plot determined almost by predestination.  In La Ronde we saw love itself go on a merry go round, in de… it’s a token of love, but the idea remains the same.

            Louise, whose surname we never find out (hence the title) is a Countess who has spent too much and needs to sell something to pay off her debts.  She decides to sell the diamond heart earrings given to her by her husband when they married and takes them to the very same jeweller who sold them to her spouse, a general.  However, when she fabricates losing them at the opera, the husband thinks they’ve been stolen.  The jeweller then explains the situation, but the husband does not return them to his wife, instead going along with her innocent charade.  He instead gives them to his mistress, who is leaving to start a new life in Constantinople.  However, down on her luck, she loses them over the roulette table and they come into the possession of an Italian baron, who soon after falls in love with a French countess, none other than Louise… (more…)

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