Max Ophuls

Max Ophuls

Sankt Johann, Regionalverband Saarbrücken, Saarland, Germany
Death 25 Mar 1957 (aged 54)
Hamburg, Germany
Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Plot Division 87 Columbarium, Plaque 6219
Memorial ID 7707483 · View Source
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Motion Picture Director. Born Max Oppenheimer in Saarbrucken, Germany, he debuted as a stage actor at age 17 and changed his name to avoid embarrassing his conservative Jewish family. He began directing plays in 1923 and ventured into movies with the UFA studio featurette "Das schon lieber Lebertran" (1930). Over the course of his nomadic career he would make 26 films in five countries. He moved to France in 1933, worked in Italy and Holland, considered an offer to direct in the Soviet Union (he lived there for two months and hated it), and took French citizenship in 1938. World War II drove him to Hollywood, where he was inactive for a long period. Through the efforts of writer-director Preston Sturges he was assigned to helm Howard Hughes' period drama "Vendetta" in 1946, but the eccentric Hughes fired him immediately once shooting began. He had better luck at Universal with "The Exile" (1947) starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and capped his American phase with "Letter from an Unknown Woman" (1948), "Caught" (1949), and "The Reckless Moment" (1949). Ophuls made his last and greatest films after returning to France: "La Ronde" (1950), adapted from Arthur Schnitzler's play, "Le Plasir" (1952), "Madame de..." (1953), and "Lola Montes" (1955). Hollywood, which had ignored Ophuls while he was there, nominated him for co-screenplay Oscars for the first two of these. He died of heart disease in Hamburg, Germany, where he was staging a play. Ophuls has long been hailed as one of cinema's masters of "mise-en-scene" for his fluid, sensuous visual style. Plot and editing took a backseat while he used a wide array of crane shots, tracking shots, pans and dollies to keep the camera in constant choreographic movement around the actors and their settings. Some critics accused him of superficiality, but he had his themes (the impermanence of love and the mistreatment of women by men), and his style draws attention to itself in ways that can make viewers question the nature of the moviegoing experience. Ophuls had an acknowledged lifelong influence on director Stanley Kubrick. He was married to actress Hilde Wall from 1924 until his death. Their son is documentary filmaker Marcel Ophuls ("The Sorrow and the Pity", "Hotel Terminus").

Bio by: Bobb Edwards

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: José L Bernabé Tronchoni
  • Added: 24 Jul 2003
  • Find a Grave Memorial 7707483
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Max Ophuls (6 May 1902–25 Mar 1957), Find a Grave Memorial no. 7707483, citing Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .