In the Paris of the late 19th century, Louise, wife of a general, sells the earrings her husband gave her as a wedding gift: she needs money to cover her debts. The general secretly buys ...
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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 »
Three stories about the pleasure. The first one is about a man hiding his age behind a mask to keep going to balls and fancying women - pleasure and youth. Then comes the long tale of Mme ... See full summary »
In the Paris of the late 19th century, Louise, wife of a general, sells the earrings her husband gave her as a wedding gift: she needs money to cover her debts. The general secretly buys the earrings again and gives them to his mistress, Lola, leaving to go to Constantinople. Where an Italian diplomat, Baron Donati, buys them. Back to Paris, Donati meets Louise... So now Louise discovers love and becomes much less frivolous. Written by
The movie most likely takes place in 1880, for at one point the general mentions that he and the countess are off to see Sarah Bernhardt in the play Adrienne Lecouvreur--a role that Bernhardt adopted only in 1880 before leaving for a long tour of the US. He had also mentioned earlier that his wife had fainted for 20 minutes during the Lisbon earthquake--almost certainly a reference to the 1880 quake (estimated at 6.1 on the Richter scale). (The most recent earlier significant Lisbon quake had been in 1856, and the next one not until the early 1900s.) See more »
When the general gives the earrings to Lola on the train, she is crying and has her little bag on her lap. In the next cut, the bag is on the table. See more »
Général André de...:
[Angrily, as the jeweler, Monsieur Remy, tries to sell him the wife's earrings for a fourth time]
Don't bother me with those infernal earrings!
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What an elegant and atmospheric overlooked gem this was from Max Ophuls! Depicting in his usual florid and incredibly detailed style the lives and loves of various stereotypical characters from fin de siecle Paris, when the rich supposedly had taste and grace - before us poor diluted them.
Instead of watching people on the metaphorical merry-go-round of love as we did in La Ronde or a merry-go-round of stories as we did in Le Plaisir, this time we watch a souvenir of love, a pair of earrings on their travels back and forth between lovers and the same jeweller. The mature lovers were staid Charles Boyer, coquettish Dannielle Darrieux and romantic Vittorio De Sica engaged at first in playful flirtation but naturally turning into something far more serious: love. You are left at the end to extrapolate the outcome for yourselves, but I doubt they went on as Three! All 3 roles were played with beautiful restraint, De Sica especially, coming so soon after Umberto D's overwhelmingly serious message was ignored.
The roving camera-work paying loving attention to the period background sets was sublime, and as can only be found in Ophuls' best 6 films this is how he would have made the film in 1900! The perfectly timed choreography for the dancing scenes of course extended to nearly everything else, even to things as simple as opening and shutting mirrored wardrobes in Madame de 's gorgeously cluttered bedroom or people climbing up or down a rickety wooden spiral staircase at the jewellers. All in all, marvellous entertainment ravishing to the eyes, of a type you won't see anywhere outside of Ophuls. In fact, words have failed me.
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