Immersed in Blu-ray: The Earrings of Madame de…

Max Ophüls’ luminous and sublime The Earrings of Madame de… (1953) is now a must-own Blu-ray from Criterion.

Andrew Sarris proclaimed it was the greatest film of all time: “Yes, the shifting destinations and ownership of a pair of earrings tie the strands of the story together. But what the earrings signify, primarily, is the transformation and transfiguration of an initially frivolous and flirtatious society woman into a tragic victim of romantic rapture.”

Even Pauline Kael echoed that it was “perfection.”

But even if you could mash-up, say, Lubitsch and Welles, you still couldn’t approximate the opulence and wisdom of Ophüls, the master of the tracking shot for sheer romanticism and the chronicler of a time and place and rules of love that may have only existed in his mind but makes us all the better for the experience.

And the “celestial triangle” of Danielle Darrieux, Charles Boyer, and Vittorio De Sica is a divine reason to explore The Earrings of Madame de… A chick flick? Yes, indeed. But, as Molly Haskell writes, in the hands of Ophüls, a transcendent one in which love is a struggle but still worth pursuing.

The introduction below by Paul Thomas Anderson (contained on the Blu-ray) gives a glimpse of what the rapture is all about. (Screen capture courtesy of

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Blu-ray, Cinematography, Clips, Costume, Movies

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