A brash American gramophone salesman tries to get Emperor Franz Joseph's endorsement in turn-of-the-century Austria.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Roland Culver ...
Lucile Watson ...
...
Harold Vermilyea ...
Sig Ruman ...
Julia Dean ...
Bert Prival ...
Alma Macrorie ...
Inn Proprietress
Roberta Jonay ...
Chambermaid
John Goldsworthy ...
Obersthofmeister
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Storyline

Traveling Salesman Virgil Smith wants to sell his Grammophones in pre-WWI Austria. To enhance this, he especially wants to sell one to Emperor Franz Joseph, but at first the Austrian palace guards think he is carrying a bomb. He meets the Countess Johanna von Stolzenberg-Stolzenberg and after the usual misunderstandings, falls in love with her, this is especially assisted by his dog Buttons. But the relation between a Countess and an ordinary U.S. citizen cannot work in Austria, that is the Emperor's opinion. Is he wrong ? Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

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Paramount's Crowning Entertainment Achievement! Bing's Best Songs!


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Details

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Release Date:

2 July 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Valsa do Imperador  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,070,248 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place in the Alps but was actually filmed at Jasper National Park in Canada. Billy Wilder spent $20,000 to have pine trees sent from California and planted on location because he was not satisfied with the Canadian pine trees; he also planted 4,000 daisies that were painted blue because he felt white daisies did not photograph well. See more »

Quotes

Emperor Franz-Josef: [about Virgil] We both agreed that with him you had only one chance in a million to be happy
Johanna Augusta Franziska: Your majesty thinks that I am happy? Isn't one chance in a million better than no chance at all?
Emperor Franz-Josef: My dear, you are much to pretty for mathematics.
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Connections

Referenced in Edith Head: The Paramount Years (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

The Kiss in Your Eyes
Music by Richard Heuberger (uncredited)
English Lyrics by Johnny Burke
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User Reviews

 
surprisingly enjoyable, check it out
5 January 2007 | by (Brussels) – See all my reviews

After having read all the negative reviews and the complaints about Crosby wrecking Wilder's original intention with the film, I was quite amazed to discover that I liked this film a lot. Crosby's interference isn't noticeable, by which I mean that the film has a quite evenhanded tone. And near the end, Crosby is absolutely horrid to Joan Fontaine (cruel to be kind, but he still takes it to extremes) in a cynical way which just smacks of Wilder's black-heartedness. Crosby's character in this film is also somewhat different from his usual persona: not laid-back, but a pushy, brash, fast-talking salesman (Hope or Cagney might have suited the story even better). Joan Fontain is very icy and remote at first (making her unattractive), but she melts very convincingly once the love affair starts. The film is also a sort of a parody of the musical: Crosby's yodelling song is full of yodel jokes, and during THE number of the film (I kiss your hand in dreams madame), a chamber-maid, Fontaine's goofy chauffeur and the middle-aged pudgy 'receptionist' of the inn at which Mr. C is staying launch into a wonderfully silly (deliberately so) ballet routine clearly intended as a stab at the conventions of the genre. The last part of the film becomes less amusing, and the puppy finale drags a bit, though the final confrontation with Franz Joseph (a great Richard Haydn) makes up for the lull. Finally, Fontaine has one of the greatest lines in movie history when she finally surrenders to Crosby: 'My husband was dashing and suave. He was 6'2". He was the most handsome man in all of Austria. You're so different!!' And kiss. Sheer brilliance.


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