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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Release Date:

2 July 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Valsa do Imperador  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,070,248 (estimated)
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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

Isabella: Who is he?
Elderly nobleman: The most vulgar, impossible, obnoxious, ill-mannered...
Princess Bitotska: In one word, he's an American!
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Get Yourself a Phonograph
Music by Jimmy Van Heusen
Lyrics by Johnny Burke
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User Reviews

 
An underrated gem, a true hidden treasure
21 May 2001 | by (Padova, Italy) – See all my reviews

"The Emperor Waltz" is an underrated jewel, a true hidden treasure by the great Billy Wilder. The basic idea of the movie is authentic comic genius, Wilder's trade-mark superb wit: two parallel funny love stories, a canine one, of a dog with a blitch, and a human one, of the straightforward American guy Virgil (Bing Crosby) with the haughty Austrian Countess Johanna Augusta Franziska (Joan Fontaine), the respective masters of the pets.

Virgil is a commercial traveller: his stubborn attempts to sell gramophones to (no less a person than) the Emperor Franz-Josef are irresistibly comic. And then the Countess' blitch is the predestined partner of the Emperor's dog, and so she needs to be treated with extreme care (including sessions of psychoanalysis): all the hopes of the over-noble but impoverished family of the Holena von Shwartzemberg-Shwartzemberg lie in her paws... But it's all too funny to be described: see the movie and enjoy yourself.

The funny, gently mocking reconstruction of the Austrian Court and of its rituals at the beginning of the 20th century is stunning. The delightful subtleties are uncountable: see the gentry play lawn-tennis, and the footmen in white gloves who present the tennis-balls on a silver tray...

All the actors make an excellent job, and there are no words to praise enough Richard Haydn as Emperor Franz-Josef. The cinematography, in bright, cheerful colors, is accurate and evocative. The costumes and the locations are magnificent. The film was intended to be a musical: however, we find in it just a pair of nice songs and a rather short ballet. I consider it a further merit of the movie: I'm not much fond of musicals.

I highly recommend "The Emperor Waltz", a praiseworthy issue of Wilder's magic wit and talent.


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