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Criterion Collection: Earrings of Madame De [Blu-ray] [1953] [US Import]

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00CUKTHJ8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 160,200 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
What a sad, elegant film this is. The Earrings of Madame de... takes us into the fin de siecle Parisian world of the mannered rich, where the act of amorous intimacy is as much an expected social obligation as it is a personal pleasure, where a serious discussion about serious things is considered as indiscrete as loving one's spouse.

"Madame de... is a most elegant lady," we are told, "distinguished, received everywhere. She seemed destined to a delightful, untroubled existence. Doubtless nothing would have happened but for the jewels." She (Danielle Darrieux) is married to the rich and assured General Andre de... (Charles Boyer). When she realizes she has debts she cannot pay and does not want her husband to learn of, she sells a pair of diamond earrings her husband gave her the day after they were married. She tells her husband a little lie, that the earrings were stolen. The jeweler, not knowing of the little lie, soon goes to the general, assuming he will want to buy them back. He does, but rather than embarrass his wife, he gives them to a mistress he is saying farewell to as she departs for Constantinople. And there, she sells the jewels to cover her gambling debts. The jewels soon appear in the window of an elegant Constantinople jewelry store where Baron Fabrizio Donati (Vittorio De Sica), an Italian diplomat soon on his way to Paris, buys them. And since fate and convenience work in mysterious ways, Donati meets Madame de in Paris and they fall into what passes for love by their class. Donati gives the earrings to Madame de as a sign of his love, not knowing they were originally given to her by her husband. And Madame de must now tell a few more little lies. When her husband, the General, sees them, she must tell even more.
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Superlative direction with performances to match in this disarming tale about the bourgeoisie and what shallow lives they lead.A countess parts with a set of earrings to pay off a debt little realising the consequences on her life and that of others as we follow the earrings on their trail of destruction.Highly stylised with some dazzling tracking shots this is almost the definition of romantic cinema.
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Format: DVD
What a sad, elegant film this is. The Earrings of Madame de... takes us into the fin de siecle Parisian world of the mannered rich, where the act of amorous intimacy is as much an expected social obligation as it is a personal pleasure, where a serious discussion about serious things is considered as indiscrete as loving one's spouse.

"Madame de... is a most elegant lady," we are told, "distinguished, received everywhere. She seemed destined to a delightful, untroubled existence. Doubtless nothing would have happened but for the jewels." She (Danielle Darrieux) is married to the rich and assured General Andre de... (Charles Boyer). When she realizes she has debts she cannot pay and does not want her husband to learn of, she sells a pair of diamond earrings her husband gave her the day after they were married. She tells her husband a little lie, that the earrings were stolen. The jeweler, not knowing of the little lie, soon goes to the general, assuming he will want to buy them back. He does, but rather than embarrass his wife, he gives them to a mistress he is saying farewell to as she departs for Constantinople. And there, she sells the jewels to cover her gambling debts. The jewels soon appear in the window of an elegant Constantinople jewelry store where Baron Fabrizio Donati (Vittorio De Sica), an Italian diplomat soon on his way to Paris, buys them. And since fate and convenience work in mysterious ways, Donati meets Madame de in Paris and they fall into what passes for love by their class. Donati gives the earrings to Madame de as a sign of his love, not knowing they were originally given to her by her husband. And Madame de must now tell a few more little lies. When her husband, the General, sees them, she must tell even more.
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It took me years to appreciate French films of the classic era (Jean Gabin, Michel Simon, Michele Morgan, Simone Signoret etc. in the films of Renoir, Carne and Becker), and it was a little longer before I found the cinema of Max Ophuls. What an absolute treasure trove of complete mastery of cinematic arts.

When he returned to France after his very interesting spell in Hollywood ("Letter From an Unknown Woman" should be viewed from this period, at all costs), he made four films that even the iconoclastic "New Wave" directors appreciated greatly. He started with "La Ronde" banned in many countries for some time, before they finally saw the light. If anyone wants to see the great French actors of the early 1950s, this should be essential viewing. Simone Signoret, Serge Reggiani, Simone Simon, Daniel Gelin, Danielle Darrieux, Fernand Gravey, Odette Joyeux, Jean-Louis Barrault, Isa Miranda and Gerard Philipe. What more could you want? A brilliant and fascinating film.

That was followed by "Le Plaisir", which, again, had a stellar cast, including the aforesaid Simone Simon, Daniel Gelin and Danielle Darrieux and added Jean Gabin and Madeleine Renaud - both excellent, as might be expected.

Then came the piece de resistance, namely "Madame de....". Other reviewers have described the plot perfectly well,so there is little point in describing it again. It was obvious from the previous two films that Danielle Darrieux was Ophuls' muse and she is quite magical in this, going from being callous and flirtatious to being ecstatically in love to the final denouement. A master-class in acting, whilst I cannot think of any other actress who looked as magnificent as she does in this masterpiece.
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