Monday, February 18, 2008

Joe's Top 5's - Max Ophuls

#1. The Earrings of Madame de…Ophuls showcases story in this delicate dance of formality. You have never seen a piece of jewelry mean so many things to so many people, let alone two pieces. Danielle Darrieux makes you wonder how any husband could be bored with those eyes. But Vittorio de Sica is quick to remind him how tempting they are. Watch the opening scene for the subtlety of Opulsian genius.

#2. Letter From an Unknown WomanJoan Fontaine shows why she is as talented as, if not more than, her more-well-known sister. She goes from an adoring teen rug cleaner to secret-keeping well-to-do aristocrat wife. And you will never doubt a second of it. Louis Jourdan incites the gamut of emotions as the object of her affections. Will he live up to the image she has fashioned for him?

#3. La Ronde – Watch the movie and you won’t need a translation of this title. It’s a small world all right! Find out in 95 minutes just how small. Simone Signoret would almost make me pay for sex. However, it’s the best argument for safe sex ever filmed. This should be shown to kids in high school in lieu of lesser sex-ed films. Oh, yeah, and it’s hysterical!

#4. Le plaisir (Pleasure) – Three stories of the things that drive us. Watch the ultimate use of one camera as we enter the dance hall. But just you wait for the brothel sequence! How did he do it? The man shows his talents thoroughly in this gem.

#5. Caught James Mason fights Robert Ryan for Barbara Bel Geddes! Who will make her theirs? Who will raise the child? Who has any right to own this woman? Why did Jimmy Stewart leave this woman for Kim Novak in Vertigo? The look on Barbara’s face at the dubious ending of this melodrama will haunt you.

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