7.4/10
3,961
31 user 56 critic

Lola Montès (1955)

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.

Director:

(as Max Ophuls)

Writers:

(based on the novel by: "La vie extraordinaire de Lola Montès") (as Cécil Saint Laurent), (scenario) (as Max Ophuls) | 3 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

La ronde (1950)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Vignettes revolving around a circle of interconnected love.

Director: Max Ophüls
Stars: Anton Walbrook, Simone Signoret, Serge Reggiani
Le Plaisir (1952)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Three separate stories about the same thing: pleasure.

Director: Max Ophüls
Stars: Jean Gabin, Danielle Darrieux, Simone Simon
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The diamond earrings of a French aristocrat, a wedding gift from her husband, cause a series of conflicts as they change hands repeatedly.

Director: Max Ophüls
Stars: Charles Boyer, Danielle Darrieux, Vittorio De Sica
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

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.

Director: Max Ophüls
Stars: Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians
Liebelei (1933)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Vienna in the beginning of the twentieth century. Cavalry Lieutenant Fritz Lobheimer is about to end his affair with Baroness Eggerdorff when he meets the young Christine, the daughter of ... See full summary »

Director: Max Ophüls
Stars: Paul Hörbiger, Magda Schneider, Luise Ullrich
Senso (1954)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A troubled and neurotic Italian Countess betrays her entire country for a self-destructive love affair with an Austrian Lieutenant.

Director: Luchino Visconti
Stars: Farley Granger, Alida Valli, Massimo Girotti
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

After discovering the dead body of her teenage daughter's lover, a housewife takes desperate measures to protect her family from scandal.

Director: Max Ophüls
Stars: James Mason, Joan Bennett, Geraldine Brooks
Comedy | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In Peru in the eighteenth century. Camilla, the star of a theater company, hesitates between three men. The Viceroy gives her his magnificent golden coach. A young Spanish officer suggests ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Anna Magnani, Odoardo Spadaro, Nada Fiorelli
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A seriously ill schoolteacher becomes dependent on a "miracle" drug that begins to affect his sanity.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: James Mason, Barbara Rush, Walter Matthau
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

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

Director: Marcel Carné
Stars: Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

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.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Sylvia Bataille, Jane Marken, Georges D'Arnoux
The River (1951)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Three adolescent girls growing up in Bengal, India, learn their lessons in life after falling for an older American soldier.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Patricia Walters, Nora Swinburne, Esmond Knight
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Horseman Maurice
Lise Delamare ...
Mrs. Craigie, Lola's mother
...
Josephine, The maid
...
Student
...
Private Secretary
Will Quadflieg ...
Franz Liszt
Héléna Manson ...
Lieutenant James' Sister (as Helena Manson)
Germaine Delbat ...
Stewardess
...
Doctor (as Willy Eichberger)
Jacques Fayet ...
Steward
Friedrich Domin ...
Circus Manager
Werner Finck ...
Wisböck, The artist
Edit

Storyline

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. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The frank and shocking story of the world's most famous woman of scandal! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

23 December 1955 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Lola Montès  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$12,569 (USA) (12 October 2008)

Gross:

$107,264 (USA) (22 February 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Restored version)| (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In the nude painting of Lola commissioned by King Ludwig, she is posed identically to the model in the 1814 painting "Grand Odalisque" by J.A.D. Ingres. See more »

Goofs

When the Circus Master first tries to recruit Lola, he lists San Francisco as an important North American city, and includes Buffalo Bill in a list of major circus figures. This scene is set shortly before Montez left for Bavaria, so it must be late 1845 or early 1846. San Francisco was called Yerba Buena until 1847, and the name Buffalo Bill was first applied in the 1860s to William F. Cody, who was born in 1846. See more »

Quotes

Circus Master: Wanting to make a name for herself, Lola understood that keeping a good reputation was out of the question. Rumors, scandals, passion - that's what she chose in order to create a sensation.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
great as spectacle and technical wonder, but also a heartbreaking tale of a lost woman
27 February 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It is not entirely fair to recommend Lola Montes so highly, or admire it so, since even the version that screened recently at the Film Forum in NYC, purported to be the definitive restoration, is *still* a truncated version. The original director's cut that premiered in France in 1955, and then to immediate withdrawal after its "disaster" of a reception at 140 minutes, is no longer available. At the least, it's a saving grace that so much has been saved in this 115 minute cut, considering how many version there are and how they vary with the running time.

And, for Pete sake, if by some chance you can see it on the big-screen (it's soon to leave the Film Forum for its *second* run following the re-release last October and its re-premiere at the NYFF), do so. The filmmaker, Max Ophuls, in what was his unintentional swan song- he died at 55- shot the hell out of this picture, with director of photography Christian Matras taking the 2:35:1 frame with new Eastmancolor by the horns and shaking it for all it could be worth within the context of a "vibrant" 19th century costume melodrama bio-pic. The colors all jump off so splendidly, with such a force that compels one to not have too long of a blink, as to do so would be to miss on little surprises, little things that Ophuls uses in his frame which he careens and swivels and moves around with the freedom of a curious, pleasantly intoxicated fowl. It's one of the first masterpieces of the widescreen color film.

But it's not just a great film in technical terms. That would be too easy perhaps for Ophuls, who uses this backdrop of the sweeping and sensational to pierce through other deeper things going on with the characters. In Lola Montes his character is someone who re-lives what has happened in her relatively short life (relatively since she's not really "old" in the sense of being tucked away from the public's gaze) as a main attraction in a French circus.

She's an object first and person second in this context, which as one can imagine bustles and throbs with excitement and fun as only something of a cousin to Fellini could be. And yet as a person she's had quite a journey to where she's at: from aristocratic daughter given away to a marriage she has to run away from (unfaithful husband, figures with a wife who is about as beautiful a being as could be in the immediate vicinity), then becomes a ballerina (her childhood dream), and then... well, a topic of gossip and scandal, such as romancing a conductor, all ending in Bavaria with her hopes of possibly settling down squandered for good. Hence the circus gig.

It's a story that's given that same kaleidoscopic view as in Citizen Kane, but this time with the twist that the protagonist isn't given the sort of "luxury" of already being dead as the story of a life is sifted through and given a LARGER-than-LIFE context. Lola's story is a spectacle, sometimes farce, sometimes legend, sometimes one of those too-much-to-believe sagas that keeps those glued to their seats while Lola also entertains with trapeze work! And yet under the blue lights, under the costume changes and other mock-ups and even the Q&A sessions that the ringmaster holds with the audience and Lola, the soul of this woman is about as "there" as a near-empty gas tank. She may still be alive, but it's a kind of limbo that would be too insane if it weren't true and played out to full spectacle and extravaganza.

As said, this is a work of true technical mastery, and there's one amazing camera move or one amazing little direction (I just smiled ear to ear seeing in the opening how the circus performers rolled out, and it stayed for a solid five minutes). But, too, Ophuls has an engaging, wonderful actress on top of having a complete knockout visually: Martine Carol, who I'm not sure I've seen outside of this film, pulls out a performance that wavers between weepy, flustered, driven, elegant, tortured, calm and hiding back hysteria. It's half diva and half substantially undermined human soul, and she pulls it off like it's the performance of a life. Good marks also go to Peter Ustinov as the Ringmaster, chugging along through a script that he knows almost too well (we get very amusing asides with one of the "little" people in the red costumes trying to get their change back from him mid-act), and the actor who played the Bavarian king. In Ophuls hands, they're not just other pieces of the set, but actors who work so diligently to make this all one cohesive piece.

And, really, that's what makes Lola Montes ultimately so remarkable. Ophuls has moments of melodrama, maybe so much so that one will have to really love costume-period-melodrama flicks to really appreciate it (I actually don't usually, this is an exception), and at the same time they all work as part of this story about what lies behind the pomp and circumstance. You can get lost from time to time in this movie, and it's thrilling to get wrapped up in it. And as well as an artistic achievement of considerable proportions, it's a really fun movie to boot.


23 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page