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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Many people "mistakenly" think that this was Hitchcock's least favorite film. But in 1976 Press Conference for Family Plot with Hitchcock, Hitchcock revealed that his least favorite film was Champagne (1928). See more »
The plot centers around the composition of the "Blue Danube" waltz and its place in the rivalry between Johann Strauss Jr. and his father. While the rivalry between them was real, the "Blue Danube" was composed in 1866; Johann Strauss Sr. died in 1849, and hence could not have been late to the premiere of the "Blue Danube," since he was "late" already. See more »
Not as bad as Hitch said, but still no great shakes
"Listen to this! I've just composed a song right here in your bakery! Danube so blue, so blue, so blue " "I've been showing you how the famous Ebersader chocolate rolls are made, you're composing a song? It's sacrilege, that's what it is. Good gracious me, I've shown the very best of musicians through this bakery! Franz Schubert why, I brought him down here. He was writing the Unfinished Symphony at the time, but did he try to finish it? No. He ate cakes."
It's a fair bet that Waltzes From Vienna would be completely forgotten today if it weren't for its director, although even the notion of Alfred Hitchcock making a fluffy romantic musical comedy (co-written by his wife Alma Reville) about Johann Strauss the Younger trying to get his work published, his father's approval and marry the baker's daughter has only made it almost entirely forgotten, and only recalled as a brief side note to Hitchcock's career. That he thought it his worst film doesn't help. That said, taken on its own terms, this screen version of the 'great success at the Alhambra, London' (which had originally boasted musical arrangements by Erich Wolfgang Korngold) is no worse than most Jessie Matthews musicals of the Thirties. Awfully, awfully well-spoken and coming over as a cross between Joyce Grenfell's prettier sister and a hamster, Matthews was Britain's biggest musical star of the day (a claim, it has to be said, somewhat akin to being Baffin Island's premier kangaroo boxer), but her character's insistence than Esmond Knight's distinctly uncomfortable Johann give up the music for a career in confectionery to keep him out of the clutches of Fay Compton's scheming countess marks her out as a selfish nag who'll probably make the poor bugger's life hell for years to come.
A fairly lavish production, there are a few amusing bits of business, such as the Count automatically assuming Junior is a servant and throwing his hat to him without looking, while Hitch throws in the odd directorial flourish in an attempt to keep himself interested, and Edmund Gwenn's vain, bitter and surprisingly nasty Strauss Senior adds some welcome darkness to the proceedings but the most memorable thing about it is still the infamous scene where Strauss Jr composes The Blue Danube thanks to the rhythmic bread roll throwing and bagel stacking of the Ebersader bakers. Still, Universal's uncut French DVD boasts excellent picture quality and even includes one of Hitchcock's silent melodramas, 1927's Ivor Novello vehicle Downhill.
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