Madame de... (aka The Earrings Of Madame de...) (1953)
The wife (Danielle Darrieux) of a French aristocrat (Charles Boyer) has debts to pay because of her spending. Without telling her husband, she sells an expensive pair of diamond earrings that her husband gave her to relieve her debts. But those earrings will return to her and play a pivotal part in her destruction. Based on the novel by Leveque de Vilmorin and directed by Max Ophuls, this is one of the most exquisite pieces of cinema. While Ophuls' technique has never been more brilliantly on display (the ball montage designating the passage of time is remarkable), this is not just a visual film. Like his previous masterpiece LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, Ophuls delves into an obsessive love that literally kills its heroine. Darrieux's Madame de is a heartbreaking creature, a shallow pretty thing completely unprepared for the flood of passion that envelops her to the point of no return. All three leads are superb. Vittorio De Sica's performance as her lover reminds us that not only was he one of cinema's great directors but an excellent actor too. With Jean Debucourt, Mireille Perrey and Lia De Leo.