Scandal and secrecy, crime and coercion haunt this operatic melodrama of romantic desperation, from 1939... The director, Max Ophuls, strips the demimonde of its louche allure and displays its predatory carnal cruelty. Eschewing his usual tracking shots, he presses in on Evelyne with screen-filling closeups of a shrieking intensity; her fragile self-image and the manners of respectable society shatter with one fateful move.
Sans Lendemain—that is, “No Tomorrow”—is Max Ophüls’s unsung marvel, and the last film he made before World War II... Emotionally, the movie combines existential dread and jaunty artifice. Visually, it’s a fluid blend of confined intimacy and Parisian street splendor, shot with Ophüls’s signature technical virtuosity and verve, and in particular a noirish use of light and shadow.