On the eve of World War II (1939) English officer Ralph Denistoun is in Nazi Germany on an espionage mission to recover a poison gas formula from Prof. Krosigk. He is helped by Lydia and her band of gypsies. Naturally romance develops along the way.
Lui is nineteen years old, beautiful, bored and unmotivated. When she meets Ama in a bar, she finds herself mesmerized by his forked tongue and moves in with him and has her own tongue pierced. Determined to push her boundaries further, she asks Amas friend Shiba to design an exquisite tattoo for her back. But what Shiba demands as payment for the tattoo leads Lui into a brutal and explicit love triangle like no other. Then, after a violent encounter on the backstreets of Tokyo, Ama vanishes and Lui must face up to the reality of her life.
French master Max Ophuls’s most cherished work, "The Earrings of Madame de…" is an emotionally profound, cinematographically adventurous tale of false opulence and tragic romance. When the aristocratic woman known only as Madame de (the extraordinary Danielle Darrieux) sells her earrings, unbeknownst to her husband (Charles Boyer), in order to pay personal debts, she sets off a chain reaction, the financial and carnal consequences of which can only end in despair. Ophuls adapts Louise de Vilmorin’s incisive fin de siècle novel with virtuosic camera work so elegant and precise it’s been called the equal to that of Orson Welles.Criterion Collection
The best film from the three Max Ophuls classics Criterion is "Madame de…" (1953), one of the greatest films ever made, and one of the most written about.Dave Kehr, New York Times