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Lola Montès
     

Lola Montès

4.0 2
Director: Max Ophüls, Martine Carol, Peter Ustinov, Anton Walbrook

Cast: Max Ophüls, Martine Carol, Peter Ustinov, Anton Walbrook

 

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Max Ophuls' final film (and his only movie in color) is a cinematic tour-de-force masquerading as a biography, in this case a dazzling fictionalized life of the notorious 19th century dancer, actress, and courtesan. A still beautiful, but weary and disillusioned (and, as we later discover, ailing) Lola Montes (Martine Carol) is first seen as the featured attraction at

Overview

Max Ophuls' final film (and his only movie in color) is a cinematic tour-de-force masquerading as a biography, in this case a dazzling fictionalized life of the notorious 19th century dancer, actress, and courtesan. A still beautiful, but weary and disillusioned (and, as we later discover, ailing) Lola Montes (Martine Carol) is first seen as the featured attraction at a seedy American circus, appearing at the center of a series of various tableaux depicting the scandalous events for which she is known. With a strangely sincere yet sinister and manipulative ringmaster (Peter Ustinov) providing color commentary, some of it very ironic on two or more levels, the movie flows between these staged recreations in the circus and the events as recalled by the subject. In a series of dissolves, the film takes us through her girlhood with her mother, interrupted when her mother's lover (Ivan Desni) becomes attached to the daughter; her unhappy marriage and its aftermath; romances with composer Franz Liszt (Will Quadflieg), abduction by a Russian general (in the arms of Cossacks, no less); her affairs across the landscape of Europe with men great and notable; her thwarted aspirations as a dancer; and her romance with King Ludwig I (Anton Walbrook) of Bavaria, which led to her being made Countess of Landsfeld, and, later, to his abdication. The gracefulness of Ophuls' cyclical narrative, and the transitions between the recalled elegance of the locales, and the people with whom her romances and affairs took place, and the seediness of the circus -- where she is also compelled, in the course of performing, to perform as an aerialist -- were lost on viewers in 1955. And for many years the movie only existed in a version re-cut without the director's approval, in which the story was presented in linear fashion. It was only in the 1960's, long after Ophuls' death, that efforts were made to restore the original structure, and in 2008 the movie's original Technicolor luster was restored to its full depth and richness.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
Lola Montès is acclaimed for showcasing the grand visual style of Max Ophuls, whose looming crane shots and 360-degree pans continue to impress critics, just as they did throughout his career. Though considerable liberty is taken with the life of the historic Lola Montès, the film remains an opulent chronicle of the loves and affairs of its title subject. For some critics (notably Andrew Sarris), this is one of the greatest films ever made. Others may feel that Ophuls' camera style is garish and tiresome or that the narrative lacks energy; and even some critics who praise the film as a masterpiece cite the central performance of Martine Carol as weak. Nearly all critics appreciate the film's technical brilliance and production design.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/16/2010
UPC:
0715515052719
Original Release:
1955
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:54:00
Sales rank:
22,842

Special Features

Audio commentary featuring Max Ophuls scholar Susan White; "Max Ophuls ou le Plaisir de Tourner," a 1965 episode of the French television program Cinéastes de notre temps, featuring interviews with many of Ophuls's collaborators; Max by Marcel, a new documentary by Marcel Ophuls about his father and the making of Lola Montès; Silent footage of actress Martine Carol briefly demonstrating the various glamorous hairstyles in Lola Montès; Theatrical release trailer from Rialto Pictures

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Martine Carol Lola Montes
Peter Ustinov Circus Master
Anton Walbrook Ludwig I, King of Bavaria
Oskar Werner Student
Ivan Desny Lieutenant James
Will Quadflieg Franz Liszt
Henri Guisol Maurice
Lise Delamare Mrs. Craigie
Paulette Dubost Josephine
Jean Galland Private Secretary
Helena Manson James' Sister
Germaine Delbat Stewardess
Daniel Mendaille Captain
Claude Pinoteau Conductor Claudio Pirotto
Friedrich Domin Circus Manager
Carl Esmond The Doctor
Marcel Ophüls Actor
Willy Roesner Minister
Werner Finck Wisboeck

Technical Credits
Max Ophüls Director,Screenwriter
Georges Annenkov Costumes/Costume Designer
Georges Auric Score Composer
Ralph Baum Production Manager
Jean D'Eaubonne Production Designer
Marcel Escoffier Costumes/Costume Designer
Madeleine Gug Editor
Christian Matras Cinematographer
Jacques Natanson Screenwriter
Claude Pinoteau Asst. Director
Monique Plotin Costumes/Costume Designer
Willy Schatz Art Director
Maguy Vernadet Makeup
Annette Wademant Screenwriter

Customer Reviews

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Lola Montès 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nice special effects but sort of painful about her humiliation and her painful childhood. It is lavish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This film is an excellent visual presentation of a well remembered movie with a magical name. It presents mainly the courtesan part of the colorful life of Lola Montes. At times the continuity of the movie is somewhat disrupted giving the impression of editing. Martine Carol appears more as a decoration than as a primary actress. Expected dancing scenes are visible only for a few seconds. This nostalgic slow film is not quite comparable with modern movies on similar subjects and could be enjoyed with good company and an equally good wine.