[LOL!]a Montes

The extensive making-of documentary included with the newly-restored LOLA MONTES is worth the purchase price in itself. Robert Fischer has cannibalised an existing doc from 20 years back, enabling him to include interviews with lots of lovely people now no longer with us. So we get Peter Ustinov telling us that although his ringmaster character is nameless, in private Ophuls wrote to him that the fellow should be called “Von Itsu” — which is Ustinov in reverse, giving him an “aristocratic and Romanian” air.

Too many good stories to reproduce here. The film’s art director is pictured at home, surrounded by bric-a-brac culled from the many films he worked on. Such an Ophulsian home is really too spectacular to be populated by a man in jeans and a V-neck, don’t you think? He should at least put on some epaulettes.

The DVD is available here (UK)

Lola Montes: The Restored Edition [1955] [DVD]

and here (US)

Lola Montes (The Criterion Collection)

Lola Mont├Ęs (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

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9 Responses to “[LOL!]a Montes”

  1. [...] own new entry is right below this one. NOT an appreciation of LOLA MONTES, merely a sidelong observation or [...]

  2. Living with an ‘aristocratic Romanian’ as I do, what can I say? Perhaps Ustinov is a bit too warm and cuddly?

  3. Lola Montesis the film that REALLY opened my mind up to what the cinema is capable.

  4. I find Ustinov cuddly in the interview, but not so much in the film. He’s a slightly sinister character, although the final revelation that he too is in love with Lola is quasi-redemptive.

  5. The Criterion Blu-ray edition is awesome.

  6. Alas, I only have the DVD, but it’s still eye-popping. Great job of restoration, and a terrific supporting documentary.

  7. Rocket Ray Says:

    TCM recently showed a very good restored version (I don’t know which it was), and for the first time I understood why the film is so highly-regarded. I still feel, though, that as happens with so many otherwise-good movies, this one is disappointing at its very end. I just don’t like that last scene. Even if they had just scrolled “The End” after the plummeting shot as she jumps from the platform, it still would have been better, in my humble opinion.

  8. Wow, I can’t figure that out at all! To me, the ending is the ultimate grace-note. It’s where we realize Ustinov is smitten with Lola, and then Ophuls ends his movie with the audience filing out (in a magnificent pull-back) — even though he didn’t know this would be his last film, what a great moment to end on!

    I’d say Ophuls has the surest sense of endings of just about anybody: see also The Reckless Moment, Letter from an Unknown Woman, Le Plaisir…

  9. Ustinov’s ringmaster is more than slightly sinister. When he first meets her at that hotel he commands “Ne bouge pas!” As all she ever does in the film is move about this is quite a shock in mise en scene terms. His confession that he’s in trall to her at the close is indeed touching — and weird. Lola is after all an empty sign — a signifier of desire that has meaning to her lovers in the smae way that a mirror reflects whoever’s looking inot it. Lola herself pretty much evpaorated in childhood — in that scenere she walsk out on the prow onf the ship ( Wes Anderson restages with Bill Murray of all people in The Life Acquatic

    Ustinov introduced Lola Montes at the New York Film Festival in 1968 when it was shown for the second time. (It had first appeared at the NYFF in 1963.) He was greatly surprised by the full house and the enthusiasm of the audience, telling us all of the massive egg it laid at its Paris premiere in 1955. He spoke of Ophuls with overwhelming affection.

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