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Strauss' Great Waltz (1934)
"Waltzes from Vienna" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Music, Romance  |  7 April 1935 (USA)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 677 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 7 critic

The story of Johann Strauss the elder and younger.

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(based on: the great London Halhambra success by), (based on: the great London Halhambra success by), 5 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Fay Compton ...
Countess Helga von Stahl
...
Frank Vosper ...
Prince Gustav
Robert Hale ...
Ebezeder
Charles Heslop ...
Valet
Hindle Edgar ...
Leopold
Marcus Barron ...
Drexter
Betty Huntley-Wright ...
Lady's Maid (as Betty Huntley Wright)
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Storyline

Schani, Johan Strauss Jr., is forced by his father to forget music and to work in a bakery. Here he falls in love with Resi. The girl gets very jealous when a rich and beautiful contessa asks Schani to write a waltz for her. Schani writes and plays it, but he is always loyal to his girlfriend. Written by Claudio Sandrini <pulp99@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

7 April 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Strauss' Great Waltz  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(British Acoustic Film Full - Range Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In his interview with François Truffaut in 1964 and in many other interviews, Alfred Hitchcock referred to this film as "the lowest ebb of my career". See more »

Goofs

When Strauss is in the bakery, standing by the batter mixer, the complete waltz comes him. Just as he turns away, his back is spattered with dough, but an instant later he back is clear again. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Paul Merton Looks at Alfred Hitchcock (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz 'Morning Papers' Op.279
Composed by Johann Strauß (as Johann Strauß Jr.)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Jessie Matthews and Alfred Hitchcock
25 March 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Biography of the Strauss boys set in Vienna in mid 19th century. The stars are Jessie Matthews as Rasi, the daughter of a confectioner, Esmond Knight as Strauss Jr., and Edmun Gwenn as Strauss Sr. Also notable are Fay Compton as the countess, Frank Vosper as the count, and Robert Hale as the confectioner.

What makes this film notable is that the director is Alfred Hitchcock. Alma Reville is listed as one of the writers.

From the opening scene, the film is unusual. The film starts with a closeup of a fire team racing to a fire in a confectioner's shop. The scene is obviously fake because of the background and the fake horses. The actors jostle about and spout wisecracks. At the scene of the fire, we see a madhouse of onlookers and employees. The employees are taking tables and chairs out of the shop and setting them up in the street to avoid losing customers. The confectioner is in a panic as he tries to save a huge wedding cake. Smoke billows from the building but upstairs there is music and singing as Strauss and Rasi go through one of his compositions. The sequence is manic, full of pratfalls and sight gags.

At a dress shop across the street the countess is trying to buy a dress but the models are all watching the fire. When a bumbling fireman carries Rasi down a ladder, she tears her dress off and must run to the dress shop for clothing. She meets the countess who is asking to meet the man playing that piano. Thus begins the triangle.

Almost as a subplot, we get the adversarial relationship between the father and son since the film really focuses on the "love story." Although Hitchcock always thought this film his worst, there is much to enjoy. The pacing is brisk. The dramatic story is lightened by comic episodes. The direction is very fluid (if not florid) like the music, and the music is terrific, especially the climactic "Blue Danube" number.

Also notable are the sets. You would expect very fussy, claustrophobic rooms filled with furniture and ponderous draperies but the sets are mostly spartan, white, softly lit. In one scene the countess sits having coffee in a huge white room before huge curtainless windows. Not what you'd think of for 1850s Vienna.

The acting is uneven, with Matthews and Knight overacting and Gwenn and Compton underacting. The comic scenes are very broad and involve pratfalls into cakes, slapping, falling down stairs, etc. Yet it all seems to work.

Matthews hated this film and Hitchcock. England's premiere musical star of the time doesn't get to dance and only warbles here and there. She definitely takes a backseat to the Strauss music, but she's at her prettiest in this film. Esmond Knight's character reminded me of Marius Goring's manic composer in THE RED SHOES right down to the hair cut. Gwenn, for all his billing, gets less screen time than Matthews, Knight, and even Fay Compton.


6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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