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Directed by Max Ophüls

France 1953 105 mins. In French with English subtitles

Max Ophüls’s sumptuous and enveloping drama, adapted from the novel by Louise Lévêque de Vilmorin, is set in high society of the Belle Époque period as a pair of earrings go from discarded item to something to die for. Louise (Danielle Darrieux) and her husband André (Charles Boyer), a general in the French army, live in a state of low-level unhappiness—both resigned to a life of luxury with little excitement. But when Louise sells off earrings gifted to her on the couple’s wedding night, she sets off a chain of events involving a mistress, a dashing new suitor, and a series of comical misunderstandings with very real consequences. Ophüls’s trademark moving camera and witty dialogue are on full display in The Earrings of Madame De…, a film that tells us a great deal about the values of aristocracy through a simple story that becomes infinitely more complex as the tension mounts.