Earrings of Madame De…, The / Madame De… / Diamond Earrings (1953)

Earrings of Madame De…, The / Madame De… / Diamond Earrings (1953)

“I’ve gotten a bit lost in all your stories.”

When the pampered wife (Danielle Darrieux) of a general (Charles Boyer) secretly sells a pair of earrings to cover some debts, she unleashes a series of lies and duplicities which are compounded when she falls in love with an Italian baron (Vittorio De Sica) and is given the earrings back as a gift from him.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Charles Boyer Films
  • Danielle Darrieux Films
  • French Films
  • Infidelity
  • Love Triangle
  • Max Ophuls Films
  • Vittorio De Sica Films

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “breathlessly beautiful Max Ophüls film about ‘un grand amour,’ a love of the heart” — “adapted from a novel by Louise de Vilmorin”, who claimed the filmmakers “didn’t get one thing right” — has “elements of a standard melodrama or even a silly farce (in which a husband keeps buying the same earrings):

… but Ophüls’s presentation is so elegant… and the actors are so classy that we’re soon caught up in the romance and are vicariously experiencing the lovers’ simultaneous feelings of pleasure and anguish.”

He points out that “Danielle Darrieux gives an exquisite performance as the frivolous, fickle wife of a humorless general,” who secretly buys back the earrings “and gives them to his mistress, who eventually sells them.”

Equally impressive (though less central) are the performances by both Boyer and De Sica, who artfully embody their upper-crust characters in ways that consistently feel plausible.

However, the true “star” of the show (as always) is Ophüls’s vision and camerawork. Working in collaboration with his incredible team (including DP Christian Matras), Ophüls knew exactly what he was going for at each moment of the storyline, and brought that to fruition. This tragic classic remains well worth a look.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Danielle Darrieux as Louise
  • Charles Boyer as Andre
  • Vittorio De Sica as the Baron
  • Stunning cinematography and direction

  • George Van Parys’s “splendid score”

Must See?
Yes, as a genuine classic.


  • Foreign Gem
  • Genuine Classic
  • Important Director

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)


3 thoughts on “Earrings of Madame De…, The / Madame De… / Diamond Earrings (1953)

  1. Finally managed a viewing of this during which I didn’t fall asleep (completely, though I did nod off a few times). Over the years, that has been my experience with this film the handful of times I’ve tried; I start watching and, soon enough, I doze off.

    So I can’t very well call it a must-see. I know it’s held in high regard in various places – but… that’s my honest reaction.

    Maybe I just don’t care about what happens in a film that has its focus on earrings. (Maybe many guys don’t.)

    Visually, though… it looks nice. That’s about the most I can say.

  2. I often don’t mind ‘a woman’s picture’ – esp. if it’s of the Hollywood type and has something of an edge to it (like something with Bette Davis or Joan Crawford, etc.).

    But this just seems to drone on and on. I can see where it can be admired for its look but it still feels lethargic to me.

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