Max Ophul's The Earrings of Madame de is one of the most beautiful love stories ever made, as it visually glitters and dazzles with elegant class and exquisite beauty. The story explores the beautiful countess Madame, Louise, a vain, spoiled and superficial woman who has amassed considerable debts due to her wealthy lifestyle. To settle these debts, she chooses to sell her large diamond earrings, a wedding present from her husband the General, André. Unfortunately because of selling these earrings she will set off a chain reaction of financial and carnal consequences that can end only in tragedy and despair. The film is famous for its elaborate camera movement, its graceful style, its fancy costumes, and its extravagant dinners and elegant dances, all the while beneath the artifice it creates a heart, and tragically breaks it.
The Earrings of Madame de was directed by the legendary director Max Ophuls, who has been known to feature distinctive smooth camera movements, complex tracking shots, fluid dolly sweeps, and elegant crane shots which influenced the work of such directors as Stanley Kubrick and Paul Thomas Anderson. "He gave camera movements its finest hours in the history of the cinema," stated critic Andrew Sarris. In one of the most beautifully staged shots in the history of film, Ophuls presents a montage of several nights dancing out on the ballroom, all the while the changing of costumes and settings indicate different time transitions, while the dance movements and the music continues without any interruptions or unbroken moments; which indicates to the audience the two lovers long and emotional affair. This brilliant use of cinematography, editing and storytelling that is all told through a dance resembles the famous montage in Orson Welles Citizen Kane, in which a marriage slowly deteriorates through a series of breakfasts between husband and wife.