Max Ophüls

  • Max Ophüls – Liebelei (1933)

    1931-1940DramaGermanyMax OphülsThird Reich Cinema

    A Viennese opera house, early in the century. In attendance are lieutenants Kaiser and Lobheimer. Two young ladies on the balcony, Mizzi and Christine, drop their opera glasses, hitting one of the officers. The Baron von Eggersdorff arrives in his box. Lobheimer leaves early for his tryst with the Baron’s wife. The Baron soon arrives home, in a suspicious mood. Lobheimer rejoins Kaiser in a café with the two girls. Lobheimer soon falls for Christine… The Baroness wonders why her lover has been absent for so long; the two now part for good. But the Baron learns the secret and discovers that a key still in his wife’s possession opens the lieutenant’s door. He challenges Lobheimer to a duel…Read More »

  • Max Ophüls – Lachende Erben AKA The Merry Heirs (1933)

    1931-1940ClassicsComedyGermanyMax Ophüls

    A young salesman may inherit a wine-estate on one condition: he can’t drink a drop of alcohol for at least a month.Read More »

  • Max Ophüls – Sans lendemain AKA There’s No Tomorrow AKA Without Tomorrow (1939)

    Max Ophüls1931-1940ClassicsDramaFrance

    The story of a once-respectable woman who re-encounters her first love, now a successful doctor. Reduced to nude-dancing in a sleazy dive, with a son to support, Evelyne (Edwige Feuillère) borrows money at an outrageous interest rate in order to create a facade of respectability–and, it goes without saying, Georges falls in love with her all over again. But how can Evelyne maintain her bourgeois value and save son and “father” from the consequences of her fall?Read More »

  • Max Ophüls – Yoshiwara (1937)

    Max Ophüls1931-1940DramaFrance

    Yoshiwara (1937)

    The film is set in Yoshiwara, the red-light district of Tokyo, in the nineteenth century. It depicts a love triangle between a high-class prostitute, a Russian naval officer and a rickshaw man.Read More »

  • Max Ophüls – The Reckless Moment (1949)

    1941-1950DramaFilm NoirMax OphülsUSA

    When the opening titles credit a film as adapted from a short story in the Woman s Home Journal, you know you re onto a good thing. The Reckless Moment doesn t disappoint. Max Ophuls last American film is a women s picture in the grand tradition of Mildred Pierce (1945) – dark edged and melodramatic, and dripping with moral ambiguities.Read More »

  • Max Ophüls – De Mayerling à Sarajevo AKA From Mayerling to Sarajevo (1940)

    Drama1931-1940FranceMax OphülsPolitics

    In the late 1800’s, Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, falls for Sophie Chotek, a Czech countess. He’s already a problem to the Crown because of his political ideas; this love affair with someone not of royal blood breeches protocol. The Crown allows the union only after the couple agrees to a morganatic marriage. The emperor further neutralizes Franz by making him inspector general of the army, sending him afield for months at a time. In June of 1914, fearing for his safety, Sophie seeks permission to accompany Franz to Sarajevo; protocol dictates that no army troops attend Franz while she is present. An assassin strikes. Their deaths spark World War I.Read More »

  • Max Ophüls – Divine (1935)

    1931-1940ClassicsDramaFranceMax Ophüls


    Ludivine Jarisse is a young woman who lives a contented but unexciting life in the country. One day, she is visited by Roberte, an old friend who has made a career for herself as an actress at a Paris music hall, L’Empyrée. Roberte intends to take a break and invites her friend to take her place. Ludivine readily accepts, and soon becomes a musical hall diva under the name Divine, although she is at first reluctant to expose herself in the revealing costumes she is given. One of her colleagues attempts to take advantage of her naivety, but when she resists, he implicates her in a drugs trafficking affair. Divine remains untainted by all this vice and falls in love with an honest milkman, Antonin. He offers to marry her and she is finally able to leave the music hall to start a new life, back in the country.Read More »

  • Max Ophüls, Stuart Heisler, Mel Ferrer, Preston Sturges, Paul Weatherwax – Vendetta (1950)

    1941-1950DramaMax OphülsPreston SturgesRomanceStuart HeislerUSA


    Max Ophuls’ first American film. Fired by Howard Hughes after falling behind schedule, Ophuls was replaced by Preston Sturges, who had written the script. Sturges was then fired also. Over the next four years, Hughes tinkered incessantly with the project, and an array of writers and directors had their way with it. Finally editor Don Siegel attempted to put the thing together and make sense of it.

    So the movie is messy but with stunning sequences. Most sources credit Mel Ferrer with directing the ending, but it’s clear he only shot the leaden coda. The actual climax is a beautifully orchestrated, stunningly lit stalking scene with the principal characters hunting each other through a misty wood. Absolutely beautiful, and if this is what made Ophuls go over schedule, as seems likely, he was right to take the time to get it looking this amazing.Read More »

  • Max Ophüls – La signora di tutti AKA Everybody’s Woman (1934)

    1931-1940DramaItalian Cinema under FascismItalyMax Ophüls


    Plot & review:
    From a novel by Salvator Gotta, scripted by the director with Curt Alexander and Hans Wilhelm.
    Under anesthesia, after a suicide attempt, Gaby Doriot, movie star, relives her life and her unlucky loves, sprinkled with violent deaths. The end of the commemoration coincides with that of the surgery.
    The first and only Italian film by M. Ophüls, in exile from Nazi Germany and called to Rome by Angelo Rizzoli.
    Despite the exaggerated romanticism and the vehement acting “Italian style”, it is a cooled melodrama (with veins of Pirandello) that anticipates the themes of later Ophüls’ films, especially Lola Montès (1955).
    M. Benassi heatedly over the top, and a memorable I. Miranda, poised between Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich.
    Awarded at the Venice Film Festival.
    MorandiniRead More »

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