Few French actors can boast an international career as enduring as that of Charles Boyer. This series features nine films and includes two French productions : Le Bonheur and The Earrings of Madame de...
Marcel L’Herbier, France, 1934; 98m
A prominent member of the French 1920s avant-garde, Marcel L’Herbier co-founded La Cinémathèque Francaise in 1936. Many of his films were made for Gaumont, beginning with Rose-France in 1918 and L’Homme du large in 1920, with a 21-year-old Charles Boyer making his screen debut. The duo teamed up again fourteen years later for the political romance drama Le Bonheur, based on a play by prolific 1930s playwright Henri Bernstein. Boyer stars as a fervent anarchist who vows to kill anyone who represents the establishment. As a result, he ends up shooting and wounding a music hall singer (Gaby Morlay) during a performance. Despite this mishap, the two become romantically involved. During his attempted murder trial he refuses Morlay’s testimony, preferring to be a martyr to his cause. In this offbeat romance, events work out in an unexpected fashion. Co-starring Michel Simon. Special thanks to the French Cultural Services.
Fri May 23: 8:15pm; Sun May 25: 5:30pm
The Earrings of Madame de...
Max Ophüls, France/Italy, 1953; 105m
As the earrings of Madame de… take a treacherous route from one owner to the next, an entire world of the French aristocracy during the Belle Epoque is revealed––particularly the world shared by Madame de… (the gorgeous and glamorous Danielle Darrieux), her rigid and proper husband (Charles Boyer), and her soft, charming lover (Vittorio de Sica). Easily one of the greatest films ever made, The Earrings of Madame de... has the trappings of romantic cinema at its most superficial, but Ophüls’s fluid camera takes us beyond the film’s glittering surfaces (“only superficially superficial,” as Boyer put it) to the raw, aching feelings surging beneath. “His camera could pass through walls,” said Stanley Kubrick, speaking of his acknowledged master. Ophüls’s film is one of the true exemplars of this description, expressing a poetic style with a visual sensitivity that borders on the supernatural. With sumptuous décor, superb cinematography, and an outstanding performance by Boyer as the wronged husband. Based on the novel by Louise de Vilmorin
Mon May 26: 3:50pm