Lola Montès - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Lola Montès Reviews

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½ April 29, 2017
It's not very focused I don't think but regardless, I think Ophuls meandering nature is a style unto its own. He's putting you in a world whether or not you can comprehend what's going on. Every scene is delicately framed which makes it a good viewing.
½ October 9, 2016
Watching my way through Danny Peary's book Cult Movies. Found the historical flashbacks pretty dull, the weirdo scandal show intriguing, and the whole thing just a little bit confusing. Peary's essay adds two noteworthy points:
-that "Ophuls's women...exist in a world of impermanence, of transition", matched my the constant movement of the camera (which called a lot of attention to itself, I thought, and added some interest).
-that Lola is revived to make her dive BY the comment that men will be paying to kiss her hand afterward, "her final victory". I didn't pick up on that watching it, but the movie makes a bit more sense that way.
½ March 7, 2016
A shockingly beautiful and humanizing film. It's amazing how empathetic the film is to its protagonist Lola- portrayed quite literally to the rest of the world as a man-eating beast, displayed at the circus to pay for her sins. But as we see through flashbacks, Lola is a tragic figure, betrayed by love and simply drifting through life, trying to keep her dignity. She's only ever tried to be truthful both to her men and herself.
Beautifully shot film with fantastic color. I love the surreal circus displays and her wonderfully over the top outfits. There's a lull in her last memory of Germany, but for the most part it's a well paced and certainly fantastically (and revolutionarily) structured film.
½ December 9, 2014
this is La Vie En Rose meets Moulin Rouge, but not nearly as entertaining as either.
September 13, 2014
Max Ophüls is a Master filmmaker whom I only recently discovered, and "Lola Montes" is now the 2nd movie of his that I've seen. The print was painstakingly restored and the film looks absolutely amazing on Blu-ray. I really liked the framing device for the story which is told in a series of flashbacks. The sets and costumes are outstanding, as is the cinematography. If you are a serious film-lover, seek this movie out!
May 25, 2014
A very interesting framing for a bio-pic, but I couldn't help thinking about Tom Lehrer's song "Alma" throughout the entire thing.
May 25, 2014
This is sumptuous, exacting film with fluid camera movements detailing the sensational life of real life bon vivant Montes. The title character's life plays out in a series of flashbacks that are poignant and poetic. Beautiful production design reminiscent of the films of Visconti. The drawback of the big production scalae is that Montes seems somewhat distant and artificial. I still think this film is extraordinary (if not my favourite by this masterful auteur who clearly viewed unconventional women with respect and admiration).
Super Reviewer
February 19, 2014
With the 2008 restoration that made the film the closest to Ophul's original concept and vision, Lola Montes is mesmerizing! Shot in beautiful Technicolor and showcasing the wonderful settings and beautiful locations Lola Montes looks just as amazing as Martine Carol does portraying her. Max Ophuls' last film and the only one in color, he uses the technicolor to great advantage and adds even more depth to his striking compositions. Deep, complex and with extreme emotion and drama throughout there is no way to take your eyes off the screen. Recommended.
January 4, 2014
A vertiginous spectacle beyond compare. Lola herself is a cipher with Martine Carol utterly insipid in the role but that's the way Ophuls wanted it perhaps - the proverbial blank slate upon which the audience can conjure up their own projected image. It's a masterpiece anyway with Ustinov in top form as the polymathically perverse circus ringmaster and the neverstill camera recording a magnificent universe of infinite detail and wonder.

In one word - dizzying.
November 30, 2013
Filmed in 1955 and restored with stunning colors...this is an adaptation of the life of Lola Montez...she was way ahead of her time...the movie is in French with English subtitles...a must see
September 22, 2013
On par with The Red Shoes as one of the most visually dazzling films ever produced, and its also a delightfully abstract and dreamlike take on the biographical film.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ July 17, 2013
"Eh bien, je ne suis pas homme le plus physique du monde, mais quand elle serra serré elle m'a presque cassé la colonne vertébrale, oh, mon Lola, Lo-Lo-Lo-Lo-Lola!" I already used that joke for my opener of my review for "Lolita", and I used Google Translate for this latest reference to the Kinks' "Lola", so by changing the transvestite's name to Lolita when I reviewed "Lolita", I was probably more accurate to the lyrics, but whatever. You Francophiles can get annoyed with me all you want for letting my laziness overcome my own affection for the French language, but laziness is fitting in a discussion regarding this film, as this effort puts little effort into doing anything unique as a "loose" interpretation of the life and times of Lola Montez. Sure, this film is about some French chick, whereas Montez was an Irish woman who was known as a "Spanish" dancer and ended up dying in New York (Ironic, because New York is usually where the Irish go to "not" die), but the Irish's English is about as hard to understand as the French's French, so, yeah, I'm not really seeing a line between fact and fiction here, Herr Max Ophüls. Well, I doubt that this film has any pretense about being a biopic for Lola Montez in disguise, as the titular main character's name is [u]Lola Montè[/u]s, for goodness' sake, but the fact of the matter is that I don't really understand why Max Ophüls went through the trouble of "tap dancing" (It's funny because this film is about a dancer) around just telling us who this film is actually about, unless, of course, the other people behind this project didn't want to run the risk of legal issues, which I know sounds stupid, but kind of makes sense when you think about it, for although this film came out after any kind of copyright that would, for whatever reason, be associated with Montez's estate had expired, as the producer's cut of this film apparently told us, the people who called the shots behind this project other than Ophüls had a tendency to make mighty dumb decisions. ...No, the scenario is still stupid, but what I'm getting at is that when Sergio Leone made it the portion of Heaven that is reserved for legendary filmmakers who had their last film butchered by producers, I bet Ophüls walked up to him, handed him a smoke and said, "Well, my friend, it would appear as though the Germans and Italians have a mutual foe yet again." Now, I'm not saying the restored cut of this film that everyone knows and loves is quite as good as "Once Upon a Time in America", but hey, it's still a decent film, though it's not like the producers were the only one who made a mistake with the handling of Ophüls' vision.

Framing the flashback sequences which stand as the body of this narrative with a circus show that presents the story of the titular Lola Montès character as an act, so much so that we often step back to see an event which is being focused upon on a stage at the center of the show, this film boasts a stylistic choice to storytelling that is nothing if not unique and very often livens things up, yet there are still plenty of questionable areas within this stylistic choice, as it distances resonance by presenting a should-be subjective narrative as objective, and makes matters all the worse by being unevenly used, thus leaving storytelling style to feel inconsistent at times. The circus-themed frame story element to this nonlinear character study ultimately graces the film with a colorful stamp that I can't see the final product being the same without, but you've got to take the problems with the strengths, and make no mistake, this major stylistic choice in storytelling proves to be distancing and often inconsistent in its usage, and also has a tendency to sum up potentially exposition-feeding pieces of filler in Montès' story, thus thinning out expository depth that isn't as rich as it probably should be when we switch back to a more traditional and subjective narrative style. As much as this film takes its share of breaks to tell you what's going on, plenty feels kind of undercooked in this character study, yet underdevelopment is perhaps not a disengaging as the slowness, which is very much toned down by a certain consistent liveliness within Max Ophüls' direction that often really springs as entertaining, but still stands, and often as completely undeniable, drying up atmospheric kick enough to dull things down a bit and leave the film to limp out. Storytelling meanders at times, as surely as it takes on the occasional questionable stylistic choice, and yet, with all of my aimless complaining about the slightly underused and generally colorful, circus-themed frame story element and slow spells, there really aren't a whole lot of errors to the final product, but hiccups there are really call your attention to how this film can't afford to make too many mistakes if it aims to truly reward. There's certainly juiciness to this story, but not as much as you might think, or at least hope for, carrying only so much momentum before it begins to get kind repetitious in concept, alone, so when I say that there are not a whole lot of flaws in this film, I mean that there was never to be a whole lot of anything to this film. Needless to say, there's enough meat to this story concept for you to see some clear signs at potential for a rewarding drama, but in the end, this film isn't as rewarding as it perhaps could have been, being a bit too inconsistent and slow for you to ignore the natural shortcomings that end up doing about as much as anything in making an underwhelming effort. Still, while the film is far from outstanding, it impresses enough to entertain adequately and consistently dazzle, maybe even turn in a few decent tunes.

Georges Auric's musical efforts aren't too frequently played upon, and quite frankly, uniqueness to this film's score is substantially less recurring, but it's not like Auric doesn't still turn in a decent score that has enough tasteful color in it to entertaining and often liven things up, even if it's not quite as unique, or as impressive, as the film's outstanding art direction, which backs production designs by Jean d'Eaubonne and costume designs by Georges Annenkov that are so remarkably intricate in their capturing this 19th-century-set world with an intense attention to lavish liveliness that production value ends up being both immersive and dazzling. As far as art direction is concerned, this film almost has to be seen in order to be believed, for although the era this film falls into offers certain limitations to production value's dazzle, the designers of the look of this film make one stunning decision after another, yet not at the expense of enough down-to-earth intricacy to draw you into this dazzling world on a subjective level. Of course, it should go without saying that this film's production value wouldn't be as eye-catching as it most certainly is in the long run if it wasn't for its being gorgeously presented by another truly remarkable artistic attribute: Christian Matras' cinematography, which plays with Cinemascope filming sensibilities to seamlessly marry sweep and intimacy to the scope of this well-produced drama, while playing up vibrant color in a sensationally exuberant that was very much unique at the time, and is still, to this day, breathtaking, bouncing out well-defined color in most-every shot stunningly. The film looks incredible, and not just for its time, thanks to plenty of production value-driven and photographically enhanced eye candy that some films nowadays have trouble challenging, so on a stylistic level, this film is memorable, rewarding, maybe even near-phenomenal, and that does a lot to make the film worth seeing, yet you cannot disregard the engaging color that resides "within" those before the well-lensed camera. There's never anything all that impressive about the acting in this film, but the characters conceptually do a lot to drive the final product's substance, thus there has to be some inspiration the performances, which deliver on just that, with most every member of this colorful cast delivering on charisma and chemistry that go into defining the charming human depths that in turn go into defining this character piece. Of course, the performances wouldn't be quite as charming as they ultimately are if the performers weren't backing up engaging material, which means that Annette Wademant turns in a script that, while uneven and repetitious at times, boasts a fair bit of wit, while director Max Ophüls keeps momentum alive enough to have an engagingingly entertaining beat for every slow spell. Seeing as how there's only so much to this film's substance in concept, acting, writing and direction never delivery a whole lot, but through all of the challenges to your investment, there are enough engaging areas to storytelling to keep you going through and through, even if you do end up wishing that you had more to walk away with.

When the circus has left town, somewhat stylistically uneven storytelling, expository shortcomings and bland spells allow you to meditate upon the natural shortcomings that shake your engagement value, better never so loose that the lovely score work, remarkable production value and incredible cinematography that make up sharp style, as well as the charming performances, witty writing and generally colorful direction that make up entertaining substance, aren't able to keep you locked with "Lola Montès" enough to enjoy yourself just fine through all of the underwhelmingness.

2.5/5 - Fair
April 28, 2013
It is a great shame that Max Ophuls only made one colour wide-screen movie - this one. The master of the tracking shot might have done so much more but this was his last completed movie.

The scenes are mostly well-directed and beautifully photographed but the main problem with "Lola Montès" is Lola. It is impossible for the viewer to understand how this plain, charmless woman (underplayed by Martine Carol) could seduce and inspire composers and kings. Where is the beauty, the sexiness, the vivacity of Lola? I am not asking for a documentary but the real life story of Lola is so much more interesting. I know that Ophuls is commenting on the downside of celebrity - Lola wants to be a star and ends up in a circus (if Ophuls made this today, Lola would appear in a TV "reality" show or sex tape) - but without a compelling central character the spectacle falls as flat as the cardboard cutouts of Lola.
April 17, 2013
Most of the critics say that the stony performance by the lead actress is perfect for what the director had in mind, and that the lighting, sets, and direction make this a beautifully constructed film.

The latter it is, but I can't buy into the excuses being made for the main character's actress' monochromatic performance. There are probably few films that were composed as artfully as this one, by 1955, when it was made. But this sort of artistic consistence in film is commonplace now. For example, ":The Life of Pi" has more visual heft than this film in the first 45 minutes, and there have been many more like it since Lola Montes was made.

That said, Lola Montes *is* from 1955, so it was no doubt amazing to see at that time. If you are good at keeping that sort of context in mind, then indeed - Lola Montes will be an amazing film to watch. Just ignore the main character and concentrate on the sets and direction.
October 21, 2012
amazing technicolor bio-pic
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2012
The recently restored version as originally intended by Ophüls is a sumptuous chef-d'oeuvre. The production design, costumes, the fluid camerawork, the wonderful script, everything is remarkable from the first shot to the last, a great pleasure for the eyes and the heart.
Super Reviewer
September 19, 2012
The director's cut of Ophuls' final film is fascinating and ground breaking for its time. The idea of a retrospect of life put on by a local circus is great. Powerful acting and a memorable tale.
August 18, 2012
I believe this is one of the top 20 greatest films ever made. Not only in my personal sense, but as far as accomplished/literate films go. If any director attempted to even use the basic concept of the film (with the circus act), it wouldn't have been a film that would've mattered, let alone a great one. But, Ophuls completely makes it much more complex than expected. When that happens to this film, it needs a pitch-perfect sense of proportion. Obviously, that has been achieved beyond recognition. Like all great films, it has it's complete balance of a general and personal perspective on things.
Enough about it's masterful construction, I could go on for days. Going into this film, most should know that the cinematography is going to be extraordinary. Max Ophuls has been known for his pristine track shot, which hasn't worn a bit for this film. And what the camera captures is astounding. It is a symphony of beauty, that last every second throughout the film, literally. What really shows how great this film is, is that the cinematography doesn't outweigh the film itself, like so many other films have. Though, this film is the epitome of a visual films.
I feel "Madame De..," (even though I've been praising this so much, "Madame De..." is even better of a film [top 5 greatest ever]) is the closest the French will come to "Citizen Kane". But, "Lola Montes" has something on "Madame De...", which is it's addition of color. It isn't just the fact that it is color, it's the whole concept of it. Being Ophuls' only color film, it shows his urge to explore this new element, and it couldn't have been more beautiful. Another side note, Ophuls' constantly perfect leading actresses, and I believe that Martine Carol just might be the most intriguing of the bunch.
I know I am blandly expressing my love for this film, but I believe it is underestimated in cinema, and urge every insightful cinephile to watch this.
June 3, 2012
Luscious color photography and gliding camera shots ruined by a bland leading lady.
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