Max Oppenheimer Ophüls was born in Saarbrücken, Germany. He was a stage actor but moved into theatre and then film production in the late 1920s. He worked throughout Germany. He directed his first film in 1931 with the comedy short Dann schon lieber Lebertran. A Jew, he emigrated to France in 1933 and on through Switzerland and Italy to the USA in 1941. He returned to Europe in 1950. He died of rheumatic heart disease in Hamburg and is buried in Paris. He had made just over twenty films.
His first Hollywood film was the Douglas Fairbanks vehicle The Exile[?] (1947), once established he went on to direct Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), Caught[?] (1949), and The Reckless Moment[?] (1949) before his return to Europe.
Back in France he directed and co-wrote his two best works La Ronde (1950) and Lola Montes (1955) as well as two other fine films (Le Plaisir[?] (1951) and Madame De[?] (1953)) which capped his career. All his works feature his distinctive smooth camera movements, complex crane and dolly sweeps and tracking shots.
Other films include: