In Paris during the late 19th Century, Madame Louise, the wife of a high ranking military officer goes through her lavish collection of items, looking for something to sell in an effort to cover her debts from the past. She decides to sell the diamond earrings which her husband gave her on their wedding night, being that their relationship is simply built around materialism, not love. Claiming to have lost the ring, her husband quickly learns of her deceit and rebuys the earrings, giving them to his mistress, Lola, who is leaving for Constantinople. The earrings lead to more and more fate induced misunderstandings until they find their way back to Louise, via Donatia, an Italian diplomat, leading to them both sharing in mutual love. Max Ophuls' The Earrings of Madame De.. is complex, elegant film about the fate of life and the underlying conceits and feelings which all too often are kept to oneself. Through a major chunk of the film we see these characters, particularly Louise, as aristocratic type characters whose superficial nature keeps them from having any type of real relationships or bouts with honesty. We see how a woman becomes so desperate to get the earrings back, not because of their raw material value, but the incredible value of remembrance, knowing how Donatia gave her the earrings. This is precisely why the love story which unfolds between Louise and Donatia is quite heartfelt, seeing how much Louise has changed as a character. The husband is also a character that transforms in front of our eyes, but not so much in a good way, but rather in a negative light, showing his ill-conceived response of desperation when he discovers that his wife loves someone else. Max Ophul's observant direction is as always fantastic, using elegant camera movements and subtle compositions which really point out important details of the story, while never departing too far from the characters themselves. Honestly, I can see why this film is considered Max Ophuls' masterpiece, but for me it took a little too long to become emotionally gripping compared to some of his other great works.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.