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The Life and Loves of Beethoven (1936)
"Un grand amour de Beethoven" (original title)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 181 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 2 critic

Lyrical biography of the classical composer, depicted as a romantical hero, an accursed artist.

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, (dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry Baur ...
Annie Ducaux ...
Jany Holt ...
André Nox ...
Humpholz
Jane Marken ...
Esther Frechet, cook
Lucas Gridoux ...
Smeskall
Paul Pauley ...
Lucien Rozenberg ...
Yolande Laffon ...
Jean Debucourt ...
...
Georges Paulais ...
(as Paulais)
Georges Saillard ...
Breuning
Jean Pâqui ...
Pierrot
Philippe Richard
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Storyline

1801, in Vienna, two young women, his pupils, are in love with him. Thérèse de Brunswick's love remains unrequited even though she and Beethoven are engaged for years; Juliette Guicciardi, whom Beethoven loves but who marries a count, regrets that decision, but by then he and Thérèse are engaged. When Beethoven loses Juliette, he moves to the mill at Heiligenstadt; realizing he's becoming deaf, profound depression sets in. He rejects suicide, holding on to remembered sound and to his work, a dedication assisted by Thérèse and others. In later years, we see his devotion to an ungrateful and thieving nephew, his poverty, the isolation of deafness, and the love of friends. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

L'immortelle aimee

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 November 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Life and Loves of Beethoven  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(premiere)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

La Melancolie
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
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User Reviews

 
Hymns to the silence
9 December 2007 | by See all my reviews

It's considered polite to write that the silent era was Gance's time and that his talkies are mediocre stuff.Do you need FF Coppola to give them a chance?Do you? Gance was a pioneer even when he made talkies.Actually his post-silent career was a constant drift back and forth between adventure ("La Fin du Monde" "J'accuse" (2nd version),"La Venus Aveugle" "Le Capitaine Fracasse" "Cyrano et D'Artagnan" ) and retreat ("le Roman d'un Jeune Homme Pauvre" "Le Maitre de Forges" -actually mostly directed by Fernand Rivers- "Austerlitz" ).

"Un Grand Amour de Beethoven" is the follow-up to another historical biopic ("Lucrece Borgia" ) which exposed the worst of the man's weaknesses -or is it because of a bad editing where scenes were lost or deleted?-Gance did not repeat the same mistake:I'm not a specialist,so I will not argue over historical accuracy."Un Grand Amour de Beethoven" is not a biopic ,it's an experimental movie ,which predates another one,Forman's "Amadeus" .Gance's film is a musical poem ,where he tries to enhance the music with his pictures (and not the other way about).Most of the time,he brilliantly succeeds:he virtually invented the "subjective " soundtrack .These scenes when the musician feels the first effects of the illness are among the very best in the French cinema of the thirties,and as the thirties French cinema was the best French cinema ever,it speaks volumes about them.Gance simply cuts loose all the visual effects (mill,nature,thunder)at his command and lets the music surge and flow and ooze around his audience .This is shockingly transcendent stuff ,absolutely intoxicating in its use of dynamics -perhaps inspired by his previous experiments in "La Roue" -from silence to thunder .Gance also finds marvelous scenes to let us hear "moonlight sonata" .

Harry Baur gives another sublime performance ;the very long scene depicting the death of the artist has the strength of a dirge : while a "Miserere " is heard ,the face very slowly turns into a death mask.


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