As an adolescent,I first saw this film on our black-and-white TV. I was deeply moved by it then, so much so that over fifty years later I still remember some scenes vividly. First there is the luminous Maria Schell, who dominates the post WWII story. She is a gifted, but impoverished, pianist who marries the scion of the great piano-manufacturing family that is the heart of the story. If I remember correctly, the family is part Jewish and had paid dearly under Nazi persecution. One son in the preceding generation even falls under the spell of the Nazis in the thirties and forties.
The saga begins with the Jewish founder of the firm and his aristocratic. non-Jewish wife. This marriage has its own problems. I will not spoil it by recounting several touching scenes, for the wife is close to the Hapsburg court and gets intimately involved with the decline of that unhappy family. The drama begins slowly, but builds momentum as the family saga continues.
A film worth seeing. It is riveting and encapsulates Austrian history from pre WWI to post WWII. Unfortunately it is not available in any format, anywhere in the English-speaking market. The Ernst Lothar novel is available from used book dealers and (perhaps) in some libraries. Pity!
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