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La Habanera (1937)

6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 357 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 9 critic

Trapped in Puerto Rico, a beautiful young Swede is torn between her passionate, but mildly abusive South American oligarch husband and her longing for her European homeland.

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(as Detlef Sierck)

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Title: La Habanera (1937)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Don Pedro de Avila
Karl Martell ...
Dr. Sven Nagel
Julia Serda ...
Boris Alekin ...
Dr. Luis Gomez
Paul Bildt ...
Dr. Pardway
Edwin Jürgensen ...
Shumann
Carl Kuhlmann ...
Prefect
Michael Schulz-Dornburg ...
Little Juan de Avila
Rosita Alcaraz ...
Spanish dancer
Lisa Helwig ...
Rosita - Don Pedro's old servant
Geza von Foeldessy ...
Chauffeur
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Franz Arzdorf ...
Doctor #1 in Puerto Rico
Roma Bahn ...
Ebba
Günther Ballier ...
Steward
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Storyline

Astrée Sternhjelm is visiting Puerto Rico with her aunt Ana, and is enchanted by the island. The day before leaving she meets the wealthy Don Pedro at a bullfight arena, and is infatuated by him. Just before the ship takes off, she hears the song "La Habanera" sung by some natives at the quay. The song strikes a chord in her heart, and without hesitating she leaves the boat to find Don Pedro. After some weeks they get married. Ten years later her paradise has turned into hell. She is locked up with her son Juan in the big estate by her jealous and controlling husband. In Stockholm her aunt Ana is financing a foundation, which is sending two doctors to Puerto Rico to research a tropical fever. One of them, Dr. Sven Nagel, was once in love with Astrée, and the aunt asks him to find out what has happened to her niece. When the two doctors arrive to the island, they are met with hostility from the authorities and the local doctors, who are afraid that news about the tropical fever in the ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 February 1938 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Habanera  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Tobis-Klangfilm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Finnish censorship visa # 201303. See more »

Quotes

Astree Sternhjelm: You know, I turned back at the last moment ten years ago as the steamer was casting off. The island seemed to me like a paradise back then. Later, it came to seem like hell.
Dr. Sven Nagel: And now?
Astree Sternhjelm: Now? I have no regrets.
Dr. Sven Nagel: Regret is always foolish.
Astree Sternhjelm: La Habanera...
See more »

Connections

Featured in Legenden: Zarah Leander (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

El Viento me una ha Cantado
Music by Lothar Brühne
Sung by Zarah Leander
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A real surprise - it has a nice caliente flavour, a very involving melodramatic plot, but above all, shows Sirk's enchanting eye for images. In sum, i love it!

On a holiday in Puerto Rico, Astree (Zarah Leander) falls in love with nobleman Don Pedro de Avila and marries him. Our story begins ten years later, when things have begun to come awry... And things are heating up for Don Pedro who, as patron of the island, has to contend with a pair of scientists who have arrived in Puerto Rico with plans to find a cure for Puerto Rico Fever, which de Avila doesn't want publicised as existing, since it would be bad for tourism.

I love La Habanera. I've seen it twice so far. I was lucky enough to tape it one time when it was on TV, so now i've got this little copy of it sitting on my shelf that i can watch whenever I like (there are no DVD or VHS releases of any Sirk films in Australia - and I wouldn't have chosen La Habanera if i was going to order some Sirk from overseas).

It's melodrama, and designed as crap for the masses - but there's just something beautiful about everything in it. The noble beauty in Don de Avila's face during the courtship scenes at the beginning, which has turned to harshness and brooding intensity when we cut to ten years later. His burning eyes and face burn up the screen. Some of my other favourite things in it are the ceiling fan during the card game, the light through the slats in the scientists' room, the face of Dr Luis Gomez, the scene where Dr Nagel goes out in the street on a windy night and finds the fever sufferer, and, best of all, the magnificent pond in the middle of the room during the scene where Ms Leander sings the Habanera, and in which we see the reflection of the room.

There is a poetry to the images that you may not notice unless you come in half-way through (like I did, on my first viewing), so that you can't really follow what's happening in the plot. Doing this was a revelation for me. I was forced to just look at the pretty pictures, and i found, to my surprise, that there was something transfixing and poetic about them.

Second run through, when I watched it from the beginning, I found I also loved the story and the characters, which was a bonus. I found myself caught up in this little world Sirk had made for me. And the seemingly outlandish soap-opera lines somehow seemed perfect!

10/10. Mainly from surprise at how passionate i've grown for what is essentially a simple melodrama.


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