In 1845 Vienna, Johann Strauß II - Schani to his friends - would rather write and perform waltzes than anything else, this at a time when a waltz is not considered proper society music. ... See full summary »
In 1845 Vienna, Johann Strauß II - Schani to his friends - would rather write and perform waltzes than anything else, this at a time when a waltz is not considered proper society music. After he is fired from his clerical bank job because of his preoccupation with composing, he decides to follow his passion and form an orchestra. After some famed opera singers, including Carla Donner, hear his music, they expose Schani's music to the masses, to royalty and to music publisher Julius Hofbauer. As such, Schani becomes the toast of Vienna. With his new found musical fame, Schani's life, which includes his work in the European Revolutions, changes. He becomes torn for his love for his loving and faithful wife Poldi Vogelhuber and his more emotionally passionate but somewhat destructive love for Carla Donner, who herself is involved with Count Anton Hohenfried. Written by
Perhaps the number one Hollywood musical film of all time. "Gorgeous Korjus" was coined and used by Louis B. Mayer to promote her film career, which understandably would be short. Not only is she gorgeous in GW but turns in an excellent acting performance which drew an academy award nomination. Her acting role rivals or exceeds consummate actress and two-time academy award winner, Luise Reiner. Displaying the temperament of a real primadonna, Miss Korjus turns on her good and bad sides when you least expect it. Vocal waltzes are extremely difficult to sing and Korjus with her coloratura soprano does admirably. Frenchman Fernand Gravet is believable as Strauss (as far as the film is believable) and ably supported by the likes of Lionel Atwill and Hugh Herbert along with many others, few of whom have a Teutonic accent, but we still have a romantic view of old Vienna. It is not a factual biography, which is stated at the beginning of the film, but there are elements of truth in the composite of Strauss the Elder and Strauss the younger as performed by Gravet (Strauss the Younger was a womanizer and while married actually had a liaison with an opera singer, among others). The Vienna Woods segment is pure joy. Strauss playing Tales from the Vienna Woods on his violin and Carla Donner singing in accompaniment's, their whirling dancing, ending up on the ground, where Strauss goes no further and wistfully admits "Carla, I'm married." The audience, I think, expects a tantrum from Donner at this revelation, but she gracefully takes it in stride and fools us once again with her unpredictability! This scene, to me, was the high point of an exceptional film of the type we shall never see again.
28 of 30 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?