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.
Appears in: Paris 1900