Golden Earrings


Adventure / Romance / War

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 39%
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 1112

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John Dehner as SS Officer with Hoff
Ray Milland as Col. Ralph Denistoun
Larry Simms as Horace - Pageboy

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer 8 / 10

One of Dietrich's best

I am really surprised that this film only has a rating of 6.4 as of the time I did this review. While not exactly a great film, I do think it's one of the best films Dietrich did and it's a shame it isn't more highly regarded. I think a lot of the reason I liked the film so much is that the usual silly Dietrich persona as the "über-vamp" isn't present and her role required her to actually act. I just hate seeing film after film after film in the early days of her career where she seemed more like a caricature or cliché than a real woman. I don't necessarily blame Dietrich for the silly vampish films she made in the 1930s--audiences loved them and they did make her famous. But here, she showed she really could act. After all, just looking at her in films like MOROCCO, BLONDE VENUS and THE BLUE ANGEL, who would have guessed that she was well-cast to play a Gypsy! I was quite prepared to hate the film because of this casting decision, but it worked--she was pretty believable and a lot of fun to watch as well! The film is, essentially, a vehicle just for Ray Milland and Marlene Dietrich--the other supporting characters are very much secondary to the movie. Milland is a wanted spy in pre-WWII Germany and in his efforts to escape, he stumbles upon a rather frisky lone Gypsy (Dietrich) who instantly takes him to be a fulfillment of prophecy--in other words, her new lover! Milland is quite stuffy but reluctantly agrees to travel in her wagon--even putting on body paint and piercing his ears to make him look like a Gypsy (hence the title to the movie). Over time, he slowly starts to realize that underneath her very uncouth exterior is quite a woman and romance slowly blossoms.

The film in a word is "charming". A nice romance with a good dose of comedy and fun--just the sort of picture you wish Hollywood still made. Also, please note the performance of Murvyn Vye as "Zoltan". He was very magnetic in the short time he was on film and I just loved his deep and beautiful voice.

Finally, a sad note to consider. While the film is set in Germany, no mention is made of the upcoming Gypsy Holocaust. During the war, throughout German territory, the Nazis exterminated a huge percentage of Gypsies and so the final nice ending to the film is a tad far-fetched.

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird 5 / 10

Doesn't turn to gold

Both Ray Milland and especially Marlene Dietrich had given great performances more than once and starred in a number of good to outstanding films, that both stretched them and played to their strengths (consider both important when it comes to acting). While not one of the all-time greats when it comes to directors, Mitchell Leisen in my mind was deserving of far more credit. The story for 'Golden Earrings' also sounded intriguing, so the promise was hardly non-existent let alone small.

'Golden Earrings' happened to be something of a comeback for Dietrich, entertaining the troops during the war meant an absence from the screen. While she doesn't fare badly at all here, she was deserving of a better comeback, in terms of overall quality for the film itself, than this. There have been far better representations of Milland as well. 'Golden Earrings' didn't strike me as an awful film, it is better than said though do agree with the criticisms against it. Great too it is a long way from being, didn't think overall it was particularly good.

Dietrich is 'Golden Earrings' biggest merit, she clearly has fun here and is immensely charming. It is hard to believe that she was absent from the screen at all, it was like she never left. Leisen also does a good job with the director, it is stylish and clever with touches of necessary subtlety. Some of the supporting cast do their best in unsubtle caricatured roles, especially Murvyn Vye.

Visually, 'Golden Earrings' is good looking, with slick photography and designed handsomely and evocatively. The music is both fun and dramatic, if at times obviously utilised. The title song is a memorable one, very haunting. Some funny moments and some poignant ones.

However, the script is a bit of a mess tonally, with a mix of comedy and drama, and in a way that jars at times. The comedy falls on the wrong side of camp, am aware that campness was the intent and was expecting it to be part of its charm but it was done to overkill effect here to the point of exhaustion. Although the poignant moments are there, too often the more dramatic elements veer on the melodramatic. Any suspense is not there enough, and the too often ponderous pace and overlong length are relatively big offenders as to why.

The story gets ridiculous frequently and has the same problems as the script, while the characters never feel real, with the supporting characters being caricatures. Other supporting cast members are bizarre and camp it up to extremes, particularly Bruce Lester. Milland's performance is inconsistent, at times too heavy-weight and at other times too low-key. His chemistry, what little there is of it (hardly any), is never harmonious and reminiscent of a meal with flavours that clash too much with each other. Apparently they didn't get along when filming and it shows.

In summary, watchable but strange. Doesn't turn to gold. 5/10

Reviewed by bkoganbing 5 / 10

"When You Wear Those Golden Earrings, Love Will Come To You"

I made my earthly debut on September 26, 1947 and according to my parents when they were alive, as an infant I had a particular liking for the song Golden Earrings that came from this film. It served as my best lullaby in those formative months. I wish it had come from a better film than the one it served as a title tune for.

The film's story is told in flashback by Ray Milland to real life war correspondent Quentin Reynolds on a plane to Paris. Milland's got pierced ears which today would not raise a ripple, but back in 1947 was hardly in vogue, especially for a British brigadier.

Back in 1939 Milland went on a mission to Germany just before war was declared to get a poison gas formula from a German scientist of liberal sympathies. But he and partner Bruce Lester get caught, but manage to escape and split up.

Milland's route takes him to the Black Forest where gypsies are known to hang out and Hitler hasn't started rounding them up yet. They became targets for extermination as surely as Jews were later on. He runs into Marlene Dietrich and she teaches him a few survival tricks and a few tricks of another kind. With that kind of distraction, Milland can barely keep his mind on his mission.

Golden Earrings gets very campy indeed, remarkable since Milland and Dietrich did not get along during the making. On that level it's enjoyable, as serious drama it falls real short as an espionage story.

Murvyn Vye is the head gypsy and if Milland ain't got enough trouble with the Nazis, he's got to fight Vye to get Marlene and the help he needs from the clan. It'a all very silly. Vye was making his film debut and he introduces the song Golden Earrings. Vye had come from the Broadway stage where he played Jigger in the original Broadway production of Carousel.

Paramount got it's number one star and biggest recording star in America at the time, Bing Crosby, to make a record of it. Bing's record sold well, but the big hit came from Peggy Lee. I'm surprised that Marlene didn't sing a full version in the film, it's just her kind of material.

Could have definitely helped the film a lot.

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