Lola Montès

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For other uses, see Lola Montes (disambiguation).
Lola Montès
Theatrical poster
Directed by Max Ophüls
Produced by Albert Caraco
Written by Novel:
Cécil Saint-Laurent
Max Ophüls
Annette Wademant
Starring Martine Carol
Peter Ustinov
Anton Walbrook
Oskar Werner
Music by Georges Auric
Cinematography Christian Matras
Edited by Madeleine Gug
Distributed by Gamma Films (France)
Release dates
  • 23 December 1955 (1955-12-23) (France)
  • 1999 (1999) (U.S.)
Running time 110 min / 115 min (restored version)
Country France
Language French / English

Lola Montès (1955) is an historical film, and the last completed film by Max Ophüls. The film is based loosely on the life of the 19th century dancer and actress Lola Montez, portrayed by Martine Carol, and tells the story of her numerous affairs, most notably with Franz Liszt and Ludwig I of Bavaria. The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in North America by The Criterion Collection in February 2010.


The film presents scenes from the life of the 19th century dancer Lola Montès as told by her via flashbacks from her current life—as a performer in a circus, where the ringmaster (Ustinov) befriends her.



This would be the last film directed by Ophüls before his death of a heart attack in March 1957. As originally shown in France in 1955, the audience sees the events of Lola Montès' life through the use of flashbacks. Use of the technique was criticized upon its release and the movie did poorly at the box office. In response, the producers re-cut the film and shortened it in favor of a more chronological storyline, against the director's wishes.

According to Roger Ebert, a "savagely butchered version was in circulation for a few years" following Ophuls' death.[1] The film critic Andrew Sarris and others eventually showed improved versions, progressively closer to the original, at the New York Film Festival in 1963 and 1968.


Certain elements remained missing and believed lost, but the recent discovery of the lost footage allowed a new version to be edited according to Ophul's original intentions. The film was repaired by Martina Müller and Werner Dütsch.[2] It was shown at the New York Film Festival in the restored version on Sept. 26 – Oct. 12, 2008.[3]

Lola Montès was re-released by Rialto Pictures in November 2008 with the full Cinemascope aspect ratio restored and with five minutes of additional footage never before shown in any U.S. release.

Lola Montès was released on DVD and Blu-ray in North America by The Criterion Collection in February 2010.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

The film was featured in Danny Peary's 1981 book, Cult Movies as one of the 100 most representative examples of the cult film phenomenon.


  1. ^ Ebert, Roger (November 5, 2008). "Lola Montes movie review". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  2. ^ Martina Müller, Werner Dütsch: Lola Montez – Eine Filmgeschichte
  3. ^ "New York Film Festival review of the restored version". Film Society of Lincoln Center. Retrieved 10 July 2009. 
  4. ^

External links[edit]