Fellow Film Club Members and Film Buffs:
TFC June Theme: Love, both coming to terms with romantic illusions about it, and it’s eternal qualities, as we discover it is never too late in life to welcome it back into our hearts.
Well, June has slipped into our lives, wagging the tail of Spring, and we ready ourselves to enjoy the Tacoma Film Club movie choices. Come and enjoy the June films, and remember that we are dark in July for our summer break. The TFC is proud to present Max Ophuls’ last film, LOLA MONTES (1955), his only film done in color. Sadly, this film was a great disappointment to Ophuls. It did poorly at the box office, so the producers re-cut the film, shortening it, and re-editing it so that the scenes played chronologically.
Roger Ebert wrote, “a savagely butchered version of this film was in circulation for a few years after Ophuls death.”
Max Ophuls directed 27 films from 1931-1955, including THE EXILE (1947), LA RONDE (1950), and THE EARRINGS OF MADAME DE (1953).
Francois Trauffaut and Andrew Sarris led the battle to restore LOLA MONTES back to the film Ophuls made, and they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. There were a number of “lost scenes” and a reconstituted version was released in 1963 and 1968, both versions shown at the New York Film Festival. Then in 2008, the lost scenes restored, with six extra minutes added, the film was released in full Cinemascope and totally remastered color and sound. Criterion Collection released this version in 2010. Any other version sold in VHS or DVD is incomplete. The TFC is proud to be able to screen the new and complete Criterion version. Ophuls must be smiling down on us, for this “new” version looks better than it did at any time in its viewing history.
Trivia: There was a Spanish version of LOLA MONTES (1944), with Marianne Alcon. The Max Ophuls film has the distinction of being the only film in history to have been shown in three separate versions at the New York Film Festival. Ophuls died in 1957, at 55 years old, of a heart attack, still fighting with the producers, Rialto Pictures. Presently it is considered one of the greatest of “cult” films. The real cabaret dancer, Lola Montez did give “lectures”, out-selling even Charles Dickens, but the Circus motif was completely Ophuls creative inspiration.
In 1955, it’s 1.5 million dollar budget made it the most expensive French film ever produced to that time. But Hollywood continued to spend a lot more money on its epics, including LAND OF THE PHARAOHS (1955) @ $2.9 million, OKLAHOMA (1955) @ $6.8 million, WAR AND PEACE (1956) @6 million, and RICHARD III (1955) @ 6 million pounds.
Andrew Sarris of the VILLAGE VOICE wrote: LOLA MONTES is the greatest film of all time.”
LOLA MONTES (1955)
Directed by Max Ophuls @116 minutes.
The film stars Martine Carol, Peter Ustinov, Anton Walbrook, and Oskar Werner.
Synopsis: This is an epic tale of a woman who was a great adventuress in the 1850’s, became the lover of various important European men, and her notoriety allowed her later to become the main attraction with a circus.
Taglines: The frank and shocking story of the world’s most famous woman of scandal. She lived too intensely, and far too well.
Roger Ebert wrote: It is a director’s film. The actor’s were in Ophuls complete control, just an additional element in his examination of the romantic myth.”
The film’s music was scored by Georges Auric, who had been a child musical prodigy. He wrote scores for 124 films from 1931-1978, including MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (1942), DEAD OF NIGHT (1945), ORPHEUS (1950), MOULIN ROUGE (1952), THE WAGES OF FEAR (1953), THE DETECTIVE (1954), and HEAVEN KNOWS MR. ALLISON (1957).
The cinematography was done by Christian Matras, who had shot 115 films from 1928-1972, working for Jean Renoir, and Luis Bunuel; films like GRAND ILLUSION (1937), LA RONDE (1950), BLUEBEARD (1951), PARIS BLUES (1961), and WOMAN TIMES SEVEN (1967).
So folks, mark your calendars and join us this Friday, June 1, 2012, for our screening of Max Ophuls masterpiece LOLA MONTES (1955). We will show the film at 924 Broadway, in the Pythian Temple, at street level, across from the Theater on the Square, in the heart of Tacoma’s Theater District. Many of us gather early, at 6:15 p.m. for fellowship and the consumption of goodies; those of you who would like may bring snacks and beverages, wine or soft drinks, to share. Many of us just had a Work Party down at 924, so let’s be careful with foodstuffs and drinks. An announcement will be made before the film screens. It is our obligation and responsibility to clean up the space after every event. Donations are accepted to assist us in renting the space, the film, and several member’s-only parties during the year. We will have membership cards available for anyone who wants to join us officially; cost of $20.00 for the year. LOLA MONTES runs 119 minutes, and it will screen at 7:15 p.m. The movie will be over before 9:30 p.m. See you at the movies!