In the late 1800's, Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, falls for Sophie Chotek, a Czech countess. He's already a problem to the Crown because of his political ideas; this...
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In the late 1800's, Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, falls for Sophie Chotek, a Czech countess. He's already a problem to the Crown because of his political ideas; this love affair with someone not of royal blood breeches protocol. The Crown allows the union only after the couple agrees to a morganatic marriage. The emperor further neutralizes Franz by making him inspector general of the army, sending him afield for months at a time. In June of 1914, fearing for his safety, Sophie seeks permission to accompany Franz to Sarajevo; protocol dictates that no army troops attend Franz while she is present. An assassin strikes. Their deaths spark World War I. Written by
Mayerling:crown prince Rudolph committed suicide and,as emperor Francis Joseph had only one son,it's Francis Ferdinand,his nephew ,who inherited the empire,a melting pot,people who were longing to free from the Hapsburg's yoke.
The movie mainly focuses on Francis Ferdinand's love story with Czech countess Sophie Chotek.Misalliance,hence morganatic marriage.John Lodge's character is bold,human ,very chivalrous and likable.The historians are more reserved as far as reality is concerned.Nevertheless,his "United States of Europa " plan was ahead of its time,and might have preserved the Hapsburgs from their impending downfall.
Edwige Feuillere is credible as Sophie Chotek,although,here again,the character might be too good to be true.The movie features Marie -Therese De Bragance (Gabrielle Dorziat),Francis -Ferdinand's stepmother, who died in 1944.
The movie cleverly insists on the lack of precautionary measures in Sarajevo.Some went as far as to claim that the thoughtlessness in Vienna led to the tragedy.
The movie was released at the beginning of 1940 ,before the Occupation and can be seen as some kind of propaganda vehicle,as was Marcel Lherbier's "entente cordiale".It ends with pictures from WW1 and Nazism. Max Ophuls was to do much better after the war,with such works as "le plaisir" "Madame de.." and "Lola Montès".
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