The Noir Vision of Max Ophüls, Romantic Fatalist
Max Ophüls, born Maximillian Oppenheimer on 6 May 1902, Saarbrücken, Germany, was a director known primarily for his romance films, often with sweeping tracking shots, and often taking place in the past. Ophüls’ luxurious camera style is evident in such superb romance films as Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948). The director made only two true noir films in his long and distinguished career, back to back: Caught and The Reckless Moment (both 1949) during his brief period in the United States. These two noirs were a distinct departure from his earlier work, and stand out as near aberrations in the director’s body of work. But they were created out of necessity, not design, for Ophüls never really wanted to come to Hollywood in the first place.
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