Max Ophuls made this melodrama in Italy in 1934, following his flight from Germany. With its large-scale, operatic effects and aggressively experimental style, it’s clearly a young man’s film, yet contains more of the mature Ophuls than any early work of his I’ve seen: the elaborate flashback structure employed to tell this tale of a movie star’s romantic entanglements anticipates Lola Montes, and the cold, static beauty of lead actress Isa Miranda suggests the sublime emptiness of Danielle Darrieux in The Earrings of Madame de…. Ophuls’s camera glides and glides, as it always would, yet at this early point the camera movements don’t have quite the emotional refinement they would acquire later on. Technique, in Ophuls’s case, seems to precede specific meaning, but the emotional outlines are clear.