Oscar Movies: Earrings of Madame De, The (1954)

The great film critic Andrew Sarris, who introduced me to Ophuls's ravishing classic, has described “The Earrings of Madame De” (aka “Madame De”) as one of his “all-time favorite films,” along with another Max Ophuls' gem, “Lola Montes” (which has been resmastered and restored recently).

Sumptuous with its extravagantly decorative sets and costumes, emotionally heartbreaking as a literary and cinematic text, this tragic melodrama is staged in Max Ophuls' trademark style, marked by a subtle mise-en-scene, a deliriously swirling yet seamless camera movement, and superlative performance by Charles Boyer, Vittorio De Sica, and particularly Danielle Darrieux as the femme in between. In other words, this one-of-a-kind movie is flawless.

Oscar Alert

Oscar Nominations: 1

Costume Design (b/w): Georges Annenkov and Rosine Delamare

Oscar Context

In 1954, when the French film was eligible for Oscar nominations, the winner of the black-and-white costume design was Edith Head for Billy Wilder's “Sabrina,” in a contest that included Christian Dior for “Indiscretion of an American Wife,” Jean Louis for Cukor's comedy “It Should Happen to You,” and Helen Rose for the office melodrama “Executive Suite.”*