Sight and Sound - 09/01/1978
"...It still looks so modern -- saving that there is no one around any more who can combine such flamboyant spectacle with such fluidity, dexterity, lightness, invention..."
Los Angeles Times - 03/01/1991
"...Ophuls' camera swirls around, catching all the action and coarse pageantry, and the effect is invigorating..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 11/05/2008
"It is all of a piece from beginning to end: The mood, the music, the remarkably fluid camera movement, the sets, the costumes....The actors are in Ophuls' complete control, an additional element in his examination of the romantic myth."
Film Comment - 01/01/2010
"[T]his work of overwhelming visual excess truly soars due to the director's legendarily meticulous and expressive camera movements."
A.V. Club - 02/17/2010
"[A] masterpiece....It's in a league with CITIZEN KANE, THE RED SHOES, and other movies that operate on a higher plane of sophistication and creativity than their contemporaries." -- Grade: A
LOLA MONTES, the last film by Max Ophüls, is one of the most celebrated examples of both wide screen CinemaScope and lush Technicolor in film history. Added to this is Ophüls' usual use of sweeping crane shots and angled tracking shots, making this a beautiful, creative film. It is the story of Lola Montes (Martine Carol), the 19th Century dancer who was famous for her scandalous affairs with everyone from Franz List (Will Quadflieg) to Ludwig, the King of Bavaria (Anton Walbrook). At the end of her career she was the main attraction at a circus in the United States which featured a lavish tableaux of scenes from her life. The ringmaster, played by Peter Ustinov, leads the circus audience through her life, and also cues the cinematic flashbacks. Ophüls had used a similar structure in his adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler's play REIGEN in his film LA RONDE. Here, although not in chronological order, the flashbacks span Lola's life, covering everything from her early unhappy marriage to a drunken military officer, who she leaves to embark on a career as a dancer, to a very short affair with a German student played by a young Oskar Werner. Ophüls, with his always-moving camera, gives the story a wonderful sense of historical drama.
"Lola Montes" was director Max Ophüls' last film and only color film. Ophüls died in 1957.
Estimated budget: $2 million (negative cost).
Color by Eastmancolor; shot in CinemaScope.
Co-produced by Florida productions.
Screened at the 1963 New York Film Festival as part of a series of films that did not receive an American theatrical release. Screened at the 1968 New York Film Festival as part of the regular program.
Film's original running time was 140 minutes. Numerous cuts of the film exist, some are as short as 90 minutes and lack the film's flashback structure.
The film was made in English, French and German versions.