Los Angeles Times - 10/28/1994
"...An elegant, visually opulent piece of work....One of the high points of French romantic cinema as well as a sublime piece of filmmaking..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 11/11/2001
"...It glitters and dazzles....The film is famous for its elaborate camera movements, its graceful style, its sets, its costumes....We sit in admiration of Ophuls' visual display, so fluid and intricate..."
USA Today - 08/11/1989
"...This elegant, ironic and wise romantic tragedy has quite a cult..."
Uncut - 08/01/2000
"[T]his 1953 study of obsessive love shows Max Ophuls at the height of his directorial powers."
Entertainment Weekly - 10/03/2008
"A socialite hocks her diamonds to pay her shopping debts, sparking a series of lies, heartbreak, and tragedy....Savage and mesmerizing..." -- Grade: A
Total Film - 02/04/2013
"Dating from 1953, this was Max Ophüls' penultimate film and perhaps his final flawless masterpiece."
MADAME DE... is set in the glittering world of Paris high society in the dizzy days before World War One. Madame de...(it is one of the films running jokes that we never learn her name) is played by Danielle Darrieux, a beautiful, charming woman married to Andre (Charles Boyer) a worldly Army General. She is pursued by numerous men in hope of an illicit affair. She doesn't say yes, but never quite says no, preferring, as her suitor Baron Fabrizio (Vittorio De Sica) says, "torture by hope."
When she takes off the earrings her husband gave her and sells them in order to pay off a debt, the jeweler sells them back to the General, who gives them to his mistress, who gambles them away. They are unknowingly purchased by Baron Fabrizio, who gives them to Madame de... as a sign of his love. But to wear them she must lie to her husband about how she got them back and to her lover about where they came from. Here, as in LETTER FROM AN UKNOWN WOMAN, Ophüls shows his skill in depicting the world of European society. His sense of staging and camera movement perfectly capture not just the mood and feel of the time, but also the emotions of the characters.
Description by Image Entertainment:
French master Max Ophuls's most cherished work, The Earrings of Madame de . . . is an emotionally profound, cinematographically adventurous tale of false opulence and tragic romance. When the aristocratic woman known only as Madame de . . . (the extraordinary Danielle Darrieux) sells her earrings, unbeknownst to her husband (Charles Boyer), in order to pay personal debts, she sets off a chain reaction, the financial and carnal consequences of which can only end in despair. Ophuls adapts Louise de Vilmorin's incisive fin de siecle novella with virtuosic camera work so elegant and precise it's been called the equal to that of Orson Welles.
In this masterful film centered around a pair of diamond earrings, a woman lies to her husband about having sold the baubles, which were a gift from him. She is ultimately forced to reckon with her deception and the penalties of living a shallow life.