Mayerling (1936)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  13 September 1937 (USA)
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Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, is fettered on all sides. He's bored; his father, the emperor, is domineering; his politics are more liberal than his father's, but he knows his views carry... See full summary »



(novel), (dialogue) (as J. Kessel) , 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marthe Régnier ...
La baronne Vetsera (as Marthe Regnier)
Yolande Laffon ...
Suzy Prim ...
Gina Manès ...
Odette Talazac ...
La nourrice de Marie
Nane Germon ...
Anna Vetsera
Nine Assia ...
La cousine de Marie (as Assia)
Christiane Ribes ...
Une fille (as Ribès)
Gabrielle Dorziat ...
L'impératrice Élisabeth
Jean Dax ...
Le comte Taafe (as Debucourt)
André Dubosc ...
Loscheck, le valet de Rodophe
René Bergeron ...
Szeps (as Bergeron)


Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, is fettered on all sides. He's bored; his father, the emperor, is domineering; his politics are more liberal than his father's, but he knows his views carry no weight. He agrees to marry a princess to sire an heir, then spends his nights as a playboy. In 1888, he meets Marie Vetsera, 17, a baroness's daughter. She is resolute, smitten, and wants nothing in return for her love. The Prime Minister is alarmed; he contrives to have her sent away. Rudolf sinks into dissipation. When she returns, how will the lovers handle the opposition of society and their families? Can Rudolf find a way for them to be together? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

13 September 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mayerling-dramaet  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"The Hedda Hopper Show - This Is Hollywood" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on June 21, 1947 with Charles Boyer reprising his film role. See more »


Version of Mayerling (2010) See more »


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User Reviews

For the women he loved
2 May 2014 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

When Mayerling came out in France, Great Britain was facing a similar situation that the former Hapsburg Empire was facing in 1889. Only their bachelor Crown Prince was about to become a king. But Edward VIII insisted it would not be without the women he loved. He found a way out that was less bloody than Crown Prince Rudolf Von Hapsburg did.

Indeed Emperor Franz Joseph lived on and on and on. He did not die until 1916 and the Empire would die with the end of World War I when so many new states were created in Europe. But when people do start getting old the succession in the dynasty becomes important.

Charles Boyer plays the dissolute and dissipated Crown Prince Rudolf who always gets a following whether he wants it or not in any monarchy. He's got more liberal views than his father played here by Jean Dax. What's not covered here is that Franz Joseph when he assumed the throne in 1848 was a rather serious minded youth of the age of 17, a total contrast to his kid. It made for continual conflict exacerbated by court politics.

The Crown Prince was more interested in letting the good times roll like there was no tomorrow. The Emperor has already arranged a match which the Prince has reluctantly agreed to as per his duty to the state. But then he meets Danielle Darrieux who plays Marie Vetsera who is of minor nobility not quite up to Hapsburg standards. After that he wants only to be with her. And she wants only him, not even the crown if he has to give it up.

Rudolf was a momma's boy in every sense of the word. The Empress Elizabeth married Franz Joseph and she was a wild child herself. Her story is covered in the Grace Moore/Franchot Tone movie The King Steps Out. Although she's at court here in this film, most of the years of her reign she lived apart from the Emperor partaking of the various resorts at places like Baden-Baden and Biarritz. Actress Gabrielle Dorziat plays Sissi and she sympathizes with her son, but not much she can do. Boyer and Dorziat have a very emotional scene covering that.

Darrieux all wide eyed and innocent does a wonderful job as the luckless Marie Vetsara. Boyer scores well as the tragic Rudolf who would just not settle down to his responsibilities.

With the British monarchy crisis in the news in America and everywhere else but the British Empire, Mayerling found an interested audience in 1936. Anatole Litvak directed it and he, Boyer, and Darrieux would be in America soon enough. Boyer was already here, but returned to France for this film. No doubt he was cast for box office reasons in the foreign markets, most especially the American one.

All of them delivered a fine film.

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