LOLA MONTES (Max Ophüls, 1955)

Lola Montès, Max Ophüls’s final, uneven, but intermittently most brilliant film, projects twentieth-century self-objectification and selfconsciousness back into the nineteenth to address the emergence of the idea of celebrity. Its case in point is an actual celebrity, Maria Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert, a.k.a. Lola Montès, ersatz dancer, acrobat, and scandalous lover, including of King Ludwig […]

LA RONDE (Max Ophüls, 1950)

From Arthur Schnitzler’s play Reigen Max Ophüls has created a rueful, wistful meditation on the transience of love, implicitly, life’s transience. It is love’s merry-go-round suited to a waltz—a haunting waltz by Oscar Straus. More: the film itself is a waltz, lovely, lilting, passing, passing into sadness and melancholy: the inevitable end to a waltz. […]