Max Ophüls

"Ophuls is, like all great directors, inimitable, and if all the dollies and cranes in the world snap to attention when his name is mentioned, it is because he gave camera movement its finest hours in the history of the cinema." - Andrew Sarris (The American Cinema, 1968)

Max Ophüls

Director / Screenwriter
(1902-1957) Born May 6, Saarbrücken, Saarland, Germany
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: France, USA
Key Genres: Drama, Melodrama, Romantic Drama, Period Film, Psychological Drama, Romance
Key Collaborators: Curt Alexander (Screenwriter), Jean d'Eaubonne (Production Designer), Christian Matras (Cinematographer), Jean Galland (Character Actor), Jacques Natanson (Screenwriter), Hans Wilhelm (Screenwriter), Ralph Baum (Producer), Franz Planer (Cinematographer), Danielle Darrieux (Leading Character Actress), Oscar Straus (Composer), James Mason (Leading Actor), Edwige Feuillère (Leading Actress)

"Max Ophuls had a romantic sensibility that is among the most astute in all cinema, while his flowing, generous camera style reinforces the poetic intensity of his films. Regularly dismissed as a mere stylist, his reputation has soared over the last 25 years and he is now regarded as a master of the doomed love story, able, like Douglas Sirk, to transcend the limitations of the stereotypic "women's film... Arguably, for his control of narrative space and for their affecting orchestration of romantic regret, Ophuls' 1950s films were his most consummate." - Richard Alexander (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"The identification with a female consciousness and the female predicament is the supreme characteristic of the Ophülsian thematic; at the same time, the Ophüls style - the commitment to grace, beauty, sensitivity - amounts to a celebration of what our culture defines as "femininity," combined with the force of authority, the drive, the organizational (directorial) abilities construed as masculine. In short, the supreme achievement of Ophüls' work is its concrete and convincing embodiment of the collapsibility of our culture's barriers of sexual difference." - Robin Wood (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)
"Repeatedly, Ophüls explored the gulf between idealised love and the reality of passion: in Liebelei, Letter from an Unknown Woman, Caught and Madame De... disappointment and despair darken the mood, yet the films finally reaffirm love's undying appeal - reflecting, ironically, on the romantic illusions proffered by cinema itself." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"Max Ophüls is one of the greatest of film directors. He is frivolous only if it is frivolous to be obsessed by the gap between the ideal and the reality of love... No one had more sympathy for love than Ophüls, but no one knew so well how lovers remained unknown, strangers." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"A romantic with an eye for psychology, period detail, and sweeping camera movement who lensed melodramas about love and its joys and consequences." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"I was very influenced by the movies of Max Ophüls, who moved the camera all the time." - Vincente Minnelli
"The camera exists to create a new art and to show above all what cannot be seen elsewhere: neither in theater nor in life; otherwise, I'd have no need of it; doing photography doesn't interest me. That, I leave to the photographer." - Max Ophüls
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Liebelei (1932) , La Signora di Tutti (1934), Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) , Caught (1949) ✖︎, The Reckless Moment (1949) ✖︎, Madame de... (1953)
Recommended
La Ronde (1950) , Lola Montès (1955)
Worth a Look
The Bartered Bride (1932), Le Roman de Werther (1938), Sans Lendemain (1939), Le Plaisir (1951)
Approach with Caution
De Mayerling à Sarajevo (1940), The Exile (1947)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films ✖︎ 1,000 Noir Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Liebelei
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