Friday, December 9, 2011

Top Ranked Films of Max Ophüls

Max Ophüls
4 titles, 73rd in points with 11,419

Born in Germany in 1902, became a French citizen in 1938. How many filmmakers did the Nazis run out of Europe - has anyone kept the total? He actually returned to Germany after the war and died in Hamburg in 1957.

Classic films with an almost Baroque look, as Max Ophüls tried to show the aristocratic French lifestyle, usually with ornately decorated film sets, women in beautiful evening gowns, and of course the implication of much champagne drinking and many amorous rendezvous, but of course, all in good taste, and artistically filmed.

These are all the films of classic French director Max Ophüls that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.

1. The Earrings of Madame De.. (1953) #136 [photo top - Ophuls directs elegant beauty Danielle Darrieux, who often starred in his films]
2. Lola Montès (1955) #431
3. Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) #432
4. Le Plaisir (1952) France, bw#747 Should be ranked much higher, based on three stories of Guy de Maupassant

Out of the top 1000
5. La Ronde (1950) #1164 This also deserves to be ranked
6. Liebelei (1933) #1233
7. Reckless Moment, The (1949) #1391

I think they got his best right, but I would also place Le Plaisir near the top 300, and La Ronde definitely in the top 1000 somehwhere. These are all classics of b&w cinematic arts. Lola Montès was his first film in color, and at times beautiful, I don’t think it’s as interesting as the b&w ones, though it is based on a true story, that of a famous courtesan who is welcomed by royalty.

Technically, his films Ophüls' works were marked by elaborate tracking and craning movements of the cameras, ornate (almost Baroque) interior décor, the glitter of glass and mirrors (with human subjects often secondary), objects intervening in the foreground of the image between characters and camera. Once seen, the viewer will never forget the effect of his camerawork. There's a sequence from Le Plaisir shot from outside a house that moves the viewer from room to room of a bordello much like a peeping tom, offering us a capsule view of all the various activities at the house.

See the full list of top ranked 100 directors here: Top Ranked 100 Directors, 2011 Edition

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