Madame De... review

Max Ophüls’ penultimate film

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Dating from 1953, this was Max Ophüls’ penultimate film and perhaps his final flawless masterpiece.

In fin de siècle Paris an unhappily married countess (the exquisite Danielle Darrieux) secretly pawns the diamond earrings her husband (Charles Boyer) gave her.

He redeems them and gives them to his mistress, who in turn sells them to…

Yes, it’s that kind of story, contrived and mannered, and the director matches it with his elegant style.

But because it’s Ophüls, there’s an aching sense of genuine heartbreak and loss beneath the sumptuous decor and poised, urbane ironies.

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