Tuesday, December 16, 2014

301. Lola Montes/The Sins of Lola Montes (1955)

Running Time: 110 minutes
Directed By: Max Ophuls
Written By: Max Ophuls, Annette Wademant, Jacques Natanson, from the novel La Vie Extraordinaire de Lola Montes by Cecil Saint-Laurent
Main Cast: Martine Carol, Peter Ustinov, Anton Walbrook, Oskar Werner, Henri Guisol


So it's once again Tuesday (my Saturday) and I plan, once again, to knock out at least a few movies from THE BOOK and get closer to that short term goal of 901 down, 100 to go. I tried this a couple of weeks ago and only managed to get two movies watched, so lets aim for four between today and tomorrow and see what happens? First up - Lola Montes.

The ONLY place this movie is referred to as "The Sins of Lola Montes" is in THE BOOK, as all other sources have it listed merely as Lola Montes. Seems to be another case of THE BOOK making things up, as it tends to do with many of the running times and some of the plot synopsis'. Anywhoo...on with my, probably more accurate plot details. The bulk of the film is told in flashback form, with Lola Montes (apparently a real life historical figure, which I didn't know while watching) portraying a circus act. Lola Montes (Carol), an infamous scandal starter, dancer and lover, sits in the center ring while the ringmaster (Ustinov) tells her life story to the paying crowd. He goes from lover to lover and even touches briefly upon her childhood, before moving back to exploit her controversies. We hear of her affair with composer Franz Liszt through to their breakup, when the two promise to reunite one romantic evening and of her affair with the King of Bavaria (Walbrook). The whole thing really wasn't up my alley, but was beautifully photographed and featured some decent enough acting to give it only a mild thumbs down.

Boy, I've got to stop watching these movies set in the 19th century! I just can't take this overload of ancient history and the films are just as boring as they come. Granted, this one was a lot more easy to get into than Visconti's The Leopard, but still I could've done without it and it's place in THE BOOK is questionable, in my view. I've seen a few people complaining about the emotionless acting by Martine Carol, but to me that was the intent here. Here's a woman who's lived a full life filled with heartbreak and at this point, she has no emotion left to muster. A few notable pieces of the film that drew me out of my fugue like state were the scene where the Bavarian King demands a portrait of Lola Montes, only to choose the painter who will take the longest in doing so, so that he may have more time with her and basically anything in the center right with Ustinov, who really got into the role as the loud and boisterous ringmaster. People preparing to tackle THE BOOK will be pleased to know that this is not available on Netflix for "at home" delivery, as opposed to when I started and was forced to record it off of TCM. My TCM copy looked pretty crappy by the way, but served it's purpose in a pinch.

RATING: 4/10  I'm being extra generous there, because it's probably closer to a '2.5' or a '3', but what the heck, it's my Saturday! Gonna' go try to tackle something else, hopefully something set in, at least, the 20th century.


December 16, 2014  1:05pm


  1. I can remember watching it, and ..ad, well, another of those that slipped past with neither positive or negative thoughts... About 4 is fine by me.

    1. Yeah, I won't remember a bit of this in six months, I'm sure...


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