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Earrings of Madame De..., The (1953)
Genre: Period Romance Drama (France, Italy)
Starring: Charles Boyer (Gaslight • Is Paris Burning?), Danielle Darrieux
Directed By: Max Ophüls (The Reckless Moment • Caught)
Overview: A Parisian General's wife sells her earrings to resolve her debts. Those earrings return to her again and again, mirroring her own downward spiral.
Humour. It's not something you tend to find frequently in a Period Romance piece about a woman who's love life is causing all sorts of grief, but Max Ophüls' direction made this 'comedy that wasn't' into a serious drama with many unobtrusive funny moments.
This well cast, beautifully acted and well-directed story about people in a love triangle and the earrings that followed them is going to be well received by fans of the Genre. Elaborate sets and rich cinematography frames the tale perfectly, my favorite moment being when the Countess tears up a letter and throws it out of a train window. We watch as the pieces flutter in the wind, across landscapes of trees and mountains, eventually becoming the falling snow on pines, illustrating the pasage of time as well as the Countess's inability to forget her love for 'the other man'.
Sadly I'm not the type to appreciate the noble drama of the aristocracy as much as others, but I will say that this is considered one of Ophüls' masterpieces, and it's easy to see why. And as love triangles go, it's one of the richer tales I've ever seen, sorry Hitchcock...
Overall Rating: 80% (De...cent)
This is absolutely one of those 'if it weren't in 1001 Movies, I'd never have noticed it playing at the ByTowne' kind of films. Period Romance is certainly not my kind of movie, but as I've sworn to see everything in that grand tome of films, I can be glad I had a night out with friends. I'm able to cross one more off my list, ever expanding my repertoire. You can't fall in love with them all, but as Period Romance goes, yeah, it's classy for sure.