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Max Ophüls is remembered for bringing grace to the tragic melodrama, but among his finest works are a pair of bittersweet collections of romantic tales, viewed through the ironic lens of Ophüls's gliding camera. Le Plaisir is the second of these two, following his masterful roundelay La Ronde, a portrait of romance as a foolish game between deceiving lovers. Le Plaisir, based on the stories of Guy du Maupassant, takes a gentler, more wistful approach to the subject of love and desire through its three tales. Le Masque is the melancholy story of an old man as a veritable dancing wax museum figure hopelessly grasping for his lost youth in a nightly masquerade. La Maison Tellier, "a fairy tale for adults," in the words of the narrator (Jean Servais playing Maupassant), is a delightful tale of a local brothel that closes for a night for a visit to the country, where the ladies have gone to celebrate a young girl's first communion. Jean Gabin is delightful as the charming country bumpkin who plays host to the troupe and becomes sweetly smitten with flirty Danielle Darrieux. The finale, Le Modele, stars Daniel Gélin and Simone Simon as young lovers whose imminent breakup heads toward tragedy, but takes a fateful turn both sad and sweet. The bittersweet satire is lovingly leavened by Ophüls's generosity of character, but a wistful sense of regret hovers over each tale, a weary sadness enriched by wry delicacy and beautiful flowing camera work. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.