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

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Super Reviewer
March 28, 2007
Superb.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
February 17, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
November 16, 2011
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.
rubystevens
Super Reviewer
November 20, 2008
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
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ October 8, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]In "The Earrings of Madame De...", short of funds, a countess(Danielle Darrieux) decies to sell back the earrings her husband(Charles Boyer), a general, gave to her for their wedding. At first, the jeweler(Jean Debucourt) hesitates but after she faints, he agrees to the sale. Later at the opera, the countess claims to have lost them which leads to rumors of their being stolen. The jeweler fearing ruin sells them back to the general who gives them to a lover traveling to Constantinople.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Earrings of Madame De..." is a bitterly ironic movie about a vainglorious woman that rests on some very large coincidences. That having been said, director Max Ophuls makes it all very plausible as he explores a faithless society that has been ruined by its own materialism.(Early on in the movie, the countess prays for the jeweler to buy back her earrings, going so far as to light a candle in a near empty church. By the way, are there any strict rules as to what we can pray for? I'm just asking since it is football season...) [/font]
Super Reviewer
April 17, 2013
A very entertaining romp through the intrigue of Madame De... and the true story of where her earrings disappeared to and where all they travel..through wives, mistresses and across the continent.
Super Reviewer
½ October 15, 2009
even though it's too slow for the taste of today's movie-going audiences, it retains the lustre and the depth of Max Ophuls' expertise. You can't help but admire the cinematography, frame by frame- it's impeccable. Another very important classic in the history of film.
February 17, 2012
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 9, 2007
Elegant, full of that aristocratic cool superficiality, with characters almost constantly acting their respective roles in their surface level relations. Underneath all that pretense is a bored, unsuccessful marriage and one man's ill conceived response to realizing that his wife loves someone else.
½ February 10, 2009
Excellent old (1953) French film. The filing is wonderful. I especially like the sequence when the ill-fated couple fall under their respective spells.
½ November 30, 2008
Oh my. Stumbled on this in a Criterion Collection e-mail and bought it on a whim, never having heard of Max Ophuls, but was interested in seeing Danielle Darrieux after having heard her in Persepolis. Amazing photography, lush sets and costumes and simply not a thing to disappoint! I was a bit fearful that this would be a pure chick flick, but the nuanced acting by all involved -- especially Darrieux and Boyer -- and the ironic plot twists, all revolving around the titular earrings kept me involved to the end. The astounding tracking shots are truly something to be seen - dizzying in their breadth!
October 14, 2008
A wonderful film, beautifully scripted and filmed, incredible performances...so much in every shot and I'll need to take another look before I can make any serious comments. Absolutely captivating and this is one you can't stop watching.
½ January 18, 2015
This may be one of the most perfectly constructed stories I've ever seen in film.
December 29, 2014
The Earings of Madame de..., like Casablanca but emotionally more powerful, makes you want to see it again and again--and it only gets better each time.
October 18, 2008
A stylish and seemingly superficial offering from Max Ophuls that is actually deceptively complex, deepening dramatically as it progresses. Danielle Darrieux is Madame de (no surname given, which is something of a running gag) who decides to hock the earrings her husband the General (Charles Boyer) gave to her on their wedding day to support her lavish lifestyle. Of course, her husband finds out (when Madame decides to pretend they were stolen and the jeweller seeks to clear his name). The earrings then make a circuitous journey, full circle if you will, becoming imbued with an incredible amount of emotion (more than they had originally). This is one of the fascinating insights of Ophuls' film - to see that any old object can become a fetish object. The alchemy involves true love or at least that deep and exciting passionate attachment that can occur between two people (in this case, Madame de and her Italian lover played superbly by Vittorio de Sica, yes, the neorealist director), sometimes if only for a short while. However, Madame de is already married and the film juxtaposes her marriage to her illicit love, a partnership of position and appearances (and companionship) versus an intense and absorbing (those dances!) mutual longing. Of course, one relationship is right and one is wrong (or perhaps Ophuls is daring to question this) and fate (or society) will have its way. Top it all off with amazing tracking shots and set decoration and you have a masterpiece.
October 26, 2014
Anchored by august performances, "The Earrings of Madame De..." is a phenomenal and sophisticated masterclass in filmmaking, featuring some of the best camerawork and stage direction in the history of cinema. Much in the vein of Orson Welles and Douglas Sirk, Max Ophuls lets the set pieces create the melodrama while ably using the exquisite dialogue to create a claustrophobic succession of impeding doom.
September 27, 2012
A little melodramatic at times, but the drama is the point. It's about a broken marriage underneath a facade of elegance. And Ophüls delivers a great drama.
½ January 9, 2014
A pleasure for the eyes, a love story with a tragic end. It was a surprise to watch Vittorio de Sica acting.
A phrase "Unhappiness is an invented thing", what General told his wife.
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