Big Theater

Matthew Weiner Brings Ophuls to the Brattle

Tomorrow night, the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will spool up a 35 mm print of Max Ophuls’s The Earrings of Madame de . . . (1953), a film selected by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, who will also appear in person to introduce the screening, after signing copies of his newly released debut novel, Heather, the Totality, at the Harvard Book Store. A coolly ravishing melodrama widely regarded as the French director’s crowning masterpiece, Earrings lays out its tragic ironies with balletic poise, as Ophuls’s gracefully gliding camera tracks the devastating events set in motion after the genteel Parisian Louise (Danielle Darrieux) pawns a pair of diamond earrings, a gift from her husband, André (Charles Boyer), that eventually winds up in the hands of André’s mistress and Louise’s Italian lover (Vittorio De Sica). It is the intricate and unflinching narrative of Ophuls’s fin de siècle–set film, adapted from a short novel by Louise de Vilmorin, that has made Earrings such a touchstone for the acclaimed writer-director Weiner. “The real treasure of this film is the story, which unfolds mystery after mystery created by the timeless conflict of romantic delusion versus practicality,” he told us. “I never begin a project without watching this again and thinking to myself, ‘Just try to strive for the truth.’”

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