La signora di tutti

We first hear actress Gaby Doriot (the lovely Isa Miranda) as a disembodied voice, singing on a record while studio executives negotiate her price; we first see her face on a series of posters churning through a printing press. From the film's opening to its final shot, when the press comes to an abrupt halt, Ophuls underlines the commercial mechanisms that transform an individual woman into that beautiful but brittle construct, Woman-Everybody's Lady. Gaby's melodrama journey from poverty to stardom plays out in fragmented flashbacks while expensive doctors struggle to revive her after a suicide attempt (“after spending so much, we can't afford to panic,” say her worried handlers). Each episode demonstrates both the power of Gaby's attractiveness and her powerlessness over its consistently disastrous consequences. As Ophuls's graceful camera follows Gaby's spiraling path, the story's significance passes through satire into tragedy.

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