|Index||3 reviews in total|
This mini TV-serial is a dramatic retelling of the life and death of
Kronprinz Rudolf von Habsburg, who committed suicide together with his
love, Baroness Mary Vetsera, in the infamous small castle at Mayerling.
There have been various films about this subject, even a Hollywood
production starring Catherine Deneuve and Omar Sharif as Rudolf, who is
also part of this recent production as a painter and friend of Rudolf,
but they all stressed the romantic subtext of the events and largely
ignored the political and personal conflicts which made Rudolf do what
he did. But this new film version of the story really does include
quite a lot of Rudolf's personal and political background and in the
end portrays him as one of the first to imagine an united and peaceful
Europe, an idea his time and age wasn't yet ready for.
Direction and photography of the lavish sets are very well done considering this is just a TV production. The cast consists of mostly well known Austrian or German actors who all do a great job, but also includes Omar Sharif and Sandra Ceccarelli as Empress Elisabeth of Austria, who possibly (next to the actor playing Rudolf) gives the best performance of this movie. Being cast as Elisabeth of Austria always involves carrying the heavy burden of Romy Schneider's great performance in Viscontis "Ludwig II", but Ms. Ceccarelli not only has the very well done script which portrays Elisabeth as a multi-faceted person on her side, but also her interesting face and her talent.
All in all it's funny to compare this Austrian TV-event with its recent German counterpart, the mini TV-serial "Störtebeker", which was big fun to watch but not only lacked good direction and photography, but also the depth and talent behind it that "Kronprinz Rudolf" obviously has.
In trying to spin a script around Rudolf's vague attempts to carve out
a role for himself in some kind of grandiose "one world" escape from
the Dual Monarchy, the script writers reveal the truth about Rudolf.
He was exactly as his father's ministers thought he was and his father Franz Josef feared he was, a weak, indecisive, self-indulgent nitwit, who hadn't the courage of his convictions or the ones he so easily adopted in lieu of his own thinking.
Von Thun as Rudolf does a lovely job of conveying all this. In a nutshell an heir to the throne who can't have children because he passed on his VD to his wife and made her sterile, while having affairs with a mother and her daughter... and rewarding the familial devotion by taking the star-struck daughter along in his suicide.
If you love costumes and Viennese architecture and interior design enough, you may wish to endure the show (or you can sneak back and watch the Sissi trilogy which is now up on Netflix Roku). And there is some very nice acting by some of the minor characters.
This is about as dramatic and predictable as watching sand run through an hour glass.
I can't vote as I haven't seen it yet, but am looking forward to that
moment, especially as I enjoyed Omar Sharif and Catherine Deneuve in
Mayerling. That was a splendid production.
This production will intrigue me though as the late Empress Zita insisted that they were murdered... Was she mistaken, or is that "truth" being ignored by the producer of this version?? I'm writing a script at the moment about the life of the Emperor Charles, and am making references to this part of the family history, so perhaps I'd better see this before I complete my story!
I'll be watching to see when the DVD is available. Or will it be released on TV in the UK? Can't wait!
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