The Exile

Aptly titled, this was the first film Ophuls made in Hollywood after languishing there virtually unrecognized for several years. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. wrote, produced, and starred in the swashbuckler mode of his father, and gave Ophuls leave to shape the swashes according to his liking. The result is a film whose athletic feats are in the camera's realm, a Hollywood film with a European pace and Ophulsian grace that contemporary critic James Agee characterized as “cavalier detachment.” The apocryphal antics deal with King Charles II during his exile in Holland, when, to evade Cromwell's puritanical Roundheads, he disguises himself as a laborer and falls in love with a local lass played by Paule Croset (later known as Rita Corday). She had the male critics waxing poetic, but Ophuls was interested in “the poetry of the screen,” as the Manchester Guardian critic noted. Windmills and Roundheads alike accede to his compositions in motion.

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