As she gracefully riffles through her worldly possessions: her jewels, her furs, her fancy gowns, Danielle Darrieux as Comtesse Louis de.. has shades of an upmarket Madame Bovary about her in Max Ophül’s (La Ronde) sumptuous fin de siècle saga of a beguiling but frivolous noblewoman who appears to have status but whose existence is totally predetermined by the men in her life, her husband General André de.. played with masterful magnetism by Charles Boyer and her lover played with rakish charm by Vittorio De Sica.
But this is not the doom-laden, intellectual fare of Flaubert but a feather-light and humorously romantic concoction that encapsulates the height of Belle Epoque grandeur with its distinctive visual style and central drama surrounding a pair of fabulous diamond earrings.
Max Ophuls based his feature on Louise de Vilmorin’s novella but transposed it to a Parisian setting, where it is elegantly shot in black and white by Christian Matras and opens with the wonderful sequence in Madame’s boudoir. Tracking through her gorgeous residence it follows the earrings to their globe-spinning destiny as the camera swirls endlessly gracefully through a succession of ballrooms in pursuit of the Countess, her adventures and her sparkling jewels. If you’re looking for a touch of glamour and romance and a snapshot of a bygone era, Madame D is now available in the comfort of your own home so why not put the champagne on ice… MT
OUT ON DVD/BLURAY FROM 22 MAY 2017 |