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The Earrings of Madame De... (Diamond Earrings)

The Earrings of Madame De... (Diamond Earrings) (1954)



Average Rating: 8.9/10
Reviews Counted: 33
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 0

Ophüls' graceful camerawork and visual portrayal of luxury and loss make Earrings a powerful French drama.


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 0

Ophüls' graceful camerawork and visual portrayal of luxury and loss make Earrings a powerful French drama.



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Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 1,785

My Rating

Movie Info

Max Ophüls' masterpiece stars Danielle Darrieux as the titular Madame Louise de..., who in the film's opening scenes is forced to discreetly sell a pair of earrings, a gift from her military officer husband Andre (Charles Boyer), in order to make good on her debts. After she claims the earrings to be lost, the story of their possible theft hits the newspapers, prompting the jeweler who bought them (Jean Debucourt) to secretly sell them back to Andre, who then gives him to his mistress Lola (Lia

Sep 16, 2008

Criterion Collection

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All Critics (35) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (0) | DVD (9)

Slighter and more emotionally distant than Ophüls's masterpiece 'Letter from an Unknown Woman', but filled with a similar mood of romantic despair and desperation.

November 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

On one hand, Madame De . . . is all surface and style; on the other, it conveys real loss.

March 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Three good reasons you should see The Earrings of Madame de ... are the presence and performances of Danielle Darrieux, Charles Boyer and Vittorio De Sica. This celestial triangle has never been surpassed in grace, charm and, yes, wit and humor.

March 7, 2007 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ophüls' penultimate film.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like its turn-of-the-century décor and costuming, it is elegant and filled with decorative but basically unnecessary little items, which give it gentility and a nostalgic mood, but nothing much more substantial.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the most mannered and contrived love movies ever filmed. It glitters and dazzles, and beneath the artifice it creates a heart, and breaks it.

November 24, 2001 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Max Ophüls' French 1953 production is widely regarded as one of the German-born director's best, and Criterion's presentation lives up to that reputation.

September 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Under the Radar
Under the Radar

Such movement is what influenced a young Stanley Kubrick, whose visual structure -- graceful tracking shots and medium coverage punctured by rare but arresting inserts -- is a descendant of Ophüls.

January 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Stop Smiling
Stop Smiling

The cyclical nature of chance and coincidence takes on epic proportions here, as Ophuls masterfully transforms what initially seems like a borderline bedroom farce into a full-blown tragedy.

September 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Ophuls didn't make it look effortless; he simply made it look flawless. Perfection that produces a sense of awe and the (accurate) impression that nobody else could have made it.

September 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

...exquisite, both in its lavish craftsmanship and in the way it captures the acute joy (and pain) of romantic love.

March 28, 2013 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm

It's full of characteristically graceful tracking shots, the editing is superb, and in her third consecutive Ophüls film Darrieux has never looked more entrancing.

February 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Deliciously blending Sacha Guitry's The Pearls of the Crown and Ophüls's own La Ronde, this is just about as polished as European cinema gets.

February 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

A superb film and a matchless trio of performances.

February 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian

Because it's Ophüls, there's an aching sense of genuine heartbreak and loss beneath the sumptuous decor and poised, urbane ironies.

February 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film


February 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The tracking shots effortlessly glide down corridors, into rooms, through gardens. They particularly shine during two dancing scenes, where the smooth movements of the partners are echoed by the graceful camera capturing every move in perfect sync.

August 21, 2009 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

Ravisihing classic made at the height of Ophuls' career (La Ronde, Lola Montes), this much admired film is flawless in subtle narrative and lavish style as an indictment of socio-sexual mores of European aristocracy splendidly acted by Darrieux and Boyer

September 27, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

.. not just directed, not just choreographed, but sculpted in time and space, with actors and decor as the raw materials and the camera carving out the story.

September 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

Haunting romantic tragedy.

August 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

Rich in story and character.

June 15, 2007 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

The brilliance of "Earrings" is in the precision with which Ophuls carefully strips away all the luxury until what we see is not the extravagance, but the wounded, tragic marriage that the extravagance is meant to hide.

June 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

It's powerful stuff, but Ophuls' graceful, gliding camera movements provide a sense of beautiful inevitability.

March 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Evanescence is an integral part of cinema, and no other director captured it as lyrically and yet as savagely as Ophüls.

March 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for The Earrings of Madame De... (Diamond Earrings)

November 26, 2008

Super Reviewer

As the film opens, Madame Louise is looking through her things for something to sell, in order to have some extra spending money. In lieu of her furs or her diamond cross pendant, she takes out a pair of earrings. She sells them, then pretends to "lose" them at the opera one night. When the missing earrings are reported in the paper as stolen, the jeweler she pawned them off on comes to return them to her husband, the General (Charles Boyer). The general buys them back and gives them to his mistress, who's about to leave the country on an extended trip to Constantinople. When the mistress runs upon hard times, she hocks the earrings and it's then that the visiting ambassador, Baron Fabrizio Donati buys them. Donati meets Louise at customs and falls in love with her at first sight. As the two pursue a friendship that turns into romance, he gives her the earrings, not knowing they were originally hers.

That Louise could sell the earrings her husband gave her as a wedding present speaks of how she regarded her marriage to the General. It's not as if the general were a bad man or that they weren't quite suitable companions. "I don't like the person I've become in your eyes" says the general to Louise, who suddenly feels the painful sting of jealousy as he watches his wife fall in love with another man. The general, deep down, is quite a human character, perhaps even more so than the overly romantic Baron who comes to steal away his wife. The idea that people create these narrow pathes through life that they limit themselves to is not strictly the domain of the upper class of the past. Perhaps it's a lesson to be found in watching the, uhs... march to their own respective dooms in such orderly fashion.
February 17, 2012
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

Max Ophuls' The 'Earrings of Madame de...' is a visually stunning, sparkling melodrama for adults. There is so much subtext in the script (most of what the characters say is not what they mean) that it requires an film goer with a fully engaged mind to appreciate the film. I think it is the subtlety and restraint that have kept this film off most 'best films of all time' lists, which tend to favor bigger emotions and more sweeping visual epics.

The unlikely plot sounds pretty contrived, and it is. The premise is that the fate of a peripatetic, inanimate object (earrings in this case) owned by the spoiled trophy wife is the catalyst for life changing epiphanies. I recently saw a very different classic, Winchester 73 with James Stewart where the object was a rifle. The plot is contrived, but the characters aren't, they are fully recognizable humans. The plot is just the Macguffin to get there.

As the earrings pass from hand to hand, new layers of character and information are revealed about the nature of the relationships of the members of this love triangle, Charles Boyer (the cuckolded French General), Danielle Darrieux (the spoiled trophy wife), and her lover, to whom she doesn't get to actually make love, Vittorio De Sica (the Italian diplomat and Darrieux' lover). The performances are flawless, and despite the low key nature of the style, somewhere at the 45 minute mark we care about these people and are glued to find out how it all turns out. Despite the light tone, the film is ultimately a tragedy.

I can't let my little review end without mentioning the sumptuous photography and the best use of moving dolly shots that I have ever seen in a film. The camera follows character as they move from room to room and from object to object. It's not as attention grabbing as the big restaurant single shot scene in Scorsese's "Good Fellas", but the shots are so well executed, we barely notice them except to be fully involved and empathized with the characters.

If you like Renoir's 'Rules of the Game' or Bergman's 'Smiles of a Summer Night' you must see this film. Or if you're just starting to get into black and white mid-twentieth century European films about adultery among the gentry, this film is a good place to start.
November 16, 2011
Josh Morris

Super Reviewer

terribly romantic but don't let that stop u. ophuls is a master and this is movie magic. my fave of his films i have seen; intricate plot and amazing performances :D
November 21, 2008
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

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  • Madame De... (UK)
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