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Another neglected and underrated masterpiece by Max Ophuls - it's amazing how even the oldest films by him surprise you with their brilliant camera work, the breakneck direction, the amazing scenography always crowded with picturesque details, the totally convincing environment and the perfect realization of the most impossible plots with amassed complications! - of which this film is the perfect example. The chaos at the theatre is so real, that every detail of the intricacies of every single person - and they are many - is brought to full light and glory in a wonder of minute visualization. Forget Colette and her silly and banal story, this is a feast for the eyes all the way offering even some thriller elements and worrying excitement - the criminal intrigues back stage are no small matter and astoundingly modern - this is the 70s back in the 30s.
To this comes the delightful French charm of the idyllic set-ups both in the country and in the theatre, with those for Ophuls so typically hair-raising moving camera sequences catching up even what no ordinary eye would see in passing. The music is perfect as well, never dominating but always enhancing what is going on. The close-ups, the intimate moments of secrecy and revelations caught almost furtively, the lurid characters, everything combines to a masterpiece of intoxicating brilliance, - but it is the cinematic imagery above all that makes the film, yet another masterpiece by Ophuls definitely worth rediscovering and upgrading.
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