Max Ophuls's reputation as one of the great directors of cinema stems not from the contents of his films, which was often rather flimsy, but from their form. A virtuoso of the directing style that emphasized the Mise-En-Scene, his camera was incredibly fluid, constantly moving in an intoxicating array of tracking shots, crane shots, tilts and pans. -Epharim Katz, The Film Encyclopedia
Letter from an Unknown Woman
Ophuls's foremost stylistic trait is his love for the moving camera. Whenever possible, he liked to tell his story with long sinuous takes lasting for several minutes. But this constant movement isn't merely decorative or showing off. Decor, in Ophuls's film, is all important, and in restlessly exploring his sets, he is demonstrating how his characters are defined, and often constrained by their surroundings.-Philip Kemp, 501 Movie Directors
Ophuls's plots are not are not linear stories but a series of vignettes, held together either by the setting or an object. By deemphasizing the story, Ophuls eliminates key structural balances, comparisons and contrasts of similar actions in different circumstances or different actions in similar ones. Such balancing takes the viewer directly to the center of Ophuls moral statement on love, feelings and social customs.-Gerald Mast, A Short History of Movies
Earrings of Madame de...
No one had more sympathy for love than Ophuls, but no one knew as well how lovers remained unknown, stangers-David Thomson, A Biographical Dictionary of Film
It's interesting to think the same director made the creepy noir The Reckless Moment and the visually stunning Lola Montes, the romantic tragedy Letter from an Unknown Woman and the aristocratic drama The Earrings of Madame de.... However, his films may need, but certainly deserve, repeated screenings and evaluation to truly appreciate.-The writer of this blog