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USA | 1949 | 88 minutes | Max Ophüls

A model (Barbara Bel Geddes), a sociopathic millionaire (Robert Ryan), and a sympathetic pediatrician (James Mason) engage in a fraught romantic power struggle in Max Ophüls’ 1949 noir, only one of four movies the esteemed director made in the United States.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

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Young ingénue Leonora Eames comes to Los Angeles in search of a fairy tale life. She finds it, or so she thinks, in multi-millionaire Smith Ohlrig, whom she marries after a whirlwind courtship. But despite their lavish lifestyle together and relocating to a posh manor home on Long Island, the marriage quickly grows into an unhappy one—Leonora despondent and bristling beneath the overbearing Olhrig's constant abuse. Unable to secure a divorce from Ohlrig, Leonora leaves, virtually penniless, for New York City, finding work eventually as a receptionist in a poor neighborhood medical clinic run by Dr. Larry Quinada (James Mason). However, after a brief reconciliation with her husband, she becomes pregnant, a situation Ohlrig exploits to force her to return to him despite Leonora’s intense and increasing love for Quinada. Director Max Ophüls’ sublime noir melodrama is a masterpiece of elegant craftsmanship, filled with his distinctive fluid camera work and signature interplay between shadow and light. 35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Preservation funding provided by The Film Foundation and the AFI/NEA Film Preservation Grants Program.

Director Biography
Born Max Oppenheimer in 1902 Germany, Ophüls started as a stage actor and director before shifting his focus to film. His internationally acclaimed and technically unique films—30 of them—include La Ronde (1950), Le Plaisir (1952), The Earrings Of Madame De… (1953), and Lola Montes (1955).

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  • Director: Max Ophüls
  • Principal Cast: James Mason, Robert Ryan, Barbara Bel Geddes
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 1949
  • Running Time: 88 minutes
  • Producer: Wolfgang Reinhardt
  • Screenplay: Arthur Laurnets
  • Cinematographers: Lee Garmes
  • Editors: Robert Parrish
  • Music: Constantin Bakaleinikoff, Rudolph Polk, Frederick Hollander
  • Website: film-foundation.org
  • Filmography: Lola Montès (1955), The Earrings of Madame de... (1953), Pleasure (1952), La Ronde (1950), The Reckless, Moment (1949), Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948), Sarajevo (1940), The Tender Enemy (1936), Everybody‚Äôs Woman (1934), Liebelei (1933)
  • Language: English
  • Format: 35mm