films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


Lola Montès

1955 / 116m - France
Drama, Romance
Lola Montès poster

My third Ophüls turns out to be his final film. Apparently, the production of Lola Montès was a terrible mess, with studios coming in and changing the film behind his back. It's no surprise then the director called it quits, at least history did him right and his final film got reinstated in its original form.

Read all

The plot revolves around the titular character, a famous woman who ends up as a literal circus attraction after having led an eventful and prosperous life. While working at the circus, she thinks back of all the lovers she's had and the drama she's been through. A pretty typical structure for a biography.

The circus bits are surprisingly fun and moody, the flashbacks (which make up most of the film) are not on the same level. The colors are a bit garish and the acting isn't really that great, but I was expecting worse. I'm not a big biography fan and Lola Montès certainly won't change my mind, but there are some minor highlights.

Letter from an Unknown Woman

1948 / 87m - USA
Letter from an Unknown Woman poster

My first Ophüls film, a little trivia that surprised me too, to be honest. I must have him mixed up with some other director, even though I'm not really sure which one. Letter from an Unknown Woman is unfiltered romance, built on a simple premise that squeezes out as much emotion as humanly possible.

Read all

Lisa is a young girl who falls madly in love with a pianist living next door. She is too shy to confront the man, and before she can, she has to go live in a different city. When she returns to Vienna, she wrestles her way back into his life. But they only have a short time together before fate pulls them apart again.

It's a nice enough setup and the film is decently paced. It's quite short, there's just the right amount of intrigue and the performances are decent too. The cinematography and soundtrack are pretty mediocre, but the biggest problem is that the end left me completely cold, even though it was clear this was supposed to be a real tearjerker.

The Reckless Moment

1949 / 82m - USA
Crime, Drama
The Reckless Moment poster

It's a bit odd to peculiar that so many respected European directors ended up in the USA directing noirs. I guess Hollywood has always been the promised land for film people, sadly, their travels rarely resulted in better films or an upgraded oeuvre. Ophuls' The Reckless Moment is a prime example.

Read all

Lucia finds out her daughter Bea is dating a shady criminal. Behind her daughter's back she confronts him, but he demands money from Lucia. Lucia tells Bea ab out his deplorable proposition, but she doesn't believe her mother and sneaks out to see her lover. The next morning he is found dead.

The Reckless Moment is a pretty plain and unexciting noir, unless you're a big fan of the genre. The pacing is pretty snappy, but the plot is so simple and by the numbers that it doesn't really matter. The performances are lifeless, and the film lacks the gritty atmosphere that might've added some appeal. Very forgettable.

The Earrings of Madame De...

1953 / 105m - France
Drama, Romance
The Earrings of Madame De... poster

My least favorite Ophuls so far. The Earrings of Madame De ... is a very straightforward costume drama draped with some romance. It's quite stuffy and oldskool, the setting and direction fully mimic that. I'm certain there's an audience for films like these, but I'm pretty certain I'm not it.

Read all

Louise is a wealthy woman, but her gambling habits are putting her in debt. To cover some of that debt, she sells the earrings that she got from her husband on her wedding day. She pretends to have lost them so he doesn't find out, but the more she tries to cover things up, the bigger her problems become.

The cinematography was dull and lifeless, the performances were quite wooden, and the setting and plot didn't appeal to me at all. The pacing is also glacial, though that's probably a direct result of the critiques I already highlighted. Just not my type of film, at all, I'll be leaving Ophuls alone for a while.