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While awaiting her unjust execution at the hands of the treacherous Queen Elizabeth I, the tragic Mary Stuart reflects at the series of cruel political machinations that set up her path to the scaffold.
After WW2 Zarah Leander made her come-back in German cinema with this film. Whether on purpose or not director/writer Geza von Cziffra made a Leander vehicle in the old (UFA) style of her films of the 40's with Leander as an independent lady from the upper middle class. As it turned out this style was obsolete in 1950 and the film was a box-office failure (and Leander's return to the German cinema as well).
Seen in retrospect after almost 50 years (and not troubled by history) I consider this film as part of Leander's film career as a whole and the film as Leander vehicle indeed fits perfectly with her films during the Nazi period. Von Cziffra wrote an in general good melodrama with all the typical Leander ingredients and with all the story ideas building up to a good final. I say in general as towards the end the story material more or less runs dry.
Von Cziffra avoids the melodrama getting sentimental by adding little (visual) jokes to those scenes which could have drifted into sentimentality thus keeping the film in balance. The first part is very good melodrama, well-directed and well-paced (and good story telling), but Von Cziffra lets the film drag a bit from the flashback scenes onwards; these flashback scenes themselves are already disturbing for the film's balance and this is never fully recovered afterwards. As said, the finale is good melodrama ("everything comes together"), but the dramatic impact is undermined as the film's pacing and balance is disturbed.
Leander is great and sings three good songs (music by Michael Jary), with one of them a very odd, romantic song: "Wann willst du mich fragen?". Very good supporting cast in Carl Raddatz, Grethe Weiser (who else for the comedy relief?) and Vera Molnar. Siegfried Breuer is a bit disappointing, he acts purely on routine. The stage dresses for Leander are exquisite; the song and dance routines in the nightclub add to the fun.
Needless to say that this is a must-see for Leander aficionados? (7/10)
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