The Earrings of Madame de...

Director: Max Ophüls
Year Released: 1953
Rating: 3.5

When consumer whore Danielle Darrieux - in a loveless marriage with Charles Boyer's general - sells off a pair of really expensive earrings (without her husband's consent) and then lies to him about losing them, it sets off a catastrophic chain of events that leads to ruin: the earrings change hands repeatedly, get sold and repurchased and they acquire a life of their own, representing guilt, infidelity and frivolousness. Though this is very 'determined' and rigid - Ophüls' cinematic precision has always been a trademark (and, for me, a limitation) - most of his post-war films are entrancing and compact, making their point clearly and managing to be very entertaining. It would be limiting to reduce this to the adage 'What you own ends up owning you' - it's also (among many things) about being careful about what you pray for: Darrieux says a prayer in church in the beginning praying for the shopkeeper to purchase the earrings, starting the problem.