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Strauss' Great Waltz (1934)

Waltzes from Vienna (original title)
Approved | | Biography, Music, Romance | 7 April 1935 (USA)
The story of Johann Strauss the elder and younger.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Heinz Reichert (based on: the great London Alhambra success by), Ernst Marischka (based on: the great London Alhambra success by) | 5 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jessie Matthews ... Resi Ebezeder
Edmund Gwenn ... Johann Strauss, the Elder
Fay Compton ... Countess Helga von Stahl
Esmond Knight ... Johann Strauss, the Younger
Frank Vosper ... Prince Gustav
Robert Hale Robert Hale ... Ebezeder
Charles Heslop Charles Heslop ... Valet
Hindle Edgar Hindle Edgar ... Leopold
Marcus Barron Marcus Barron ... Anton Drexler
Betty Huntley-Wright Betty Huntley-Wright ... Lady's Maid (as Betty Huntley Wright)
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Storyline

Schani, Johan Strauss Jr., is forced by his father to forget music and to work in a bakery. Here he falls in love with Resi. The girl gets very jealous when a rich and beautiful contessa asks Schani to write a waltz for her. Schani writes and plays it, but he is always loyal to his girlfriend. Written by Claudio Sandrini <pulp99@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 April 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Strauss' Great Waltz See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (British Acoustic Film Full - Range Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The subject of Fear is used throughout the movie. Rasi fears that she might lose Young Johann Strauss to Countess Helga. Young Johann Strauss fears that he will never become a successful composer. Older Johann Strauss fears that his great career as a composer will be over in the future. Prince Gustav fears that his wife Countess Helga is having an affair with another man. See more »

Goofs

The first marriage of Johann Strauss Jr. was to the singer Henrietta Trefz, who was not a baker's daughter. See more »

Connections

Version of The Great Waltz (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz 'Artist's Life' Op.316
Composed by Johann Strauss (as Johann Strauß Jr.)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Jessie Matthews and Alfred Hitchcock
25 March 2013 | by drednmSee all my reviews

Biography of the Strauss boys set in Vienna in mid 19th century. The stars are Jessie Matthews as Rasi, the daughter of a confectioner, Esmond Knight as Strauss Jr., and Edmun Gwenn as Strauss Sr. Also notable are Fay Compton as the countess, Frank Vosper as the count, and Robert Hale as the confectioner.

What makes this film notable is that the director is Alfred Hitchcock. Alma Reville is listed as one of the writers.

From the opening scene, the film is unusual. The film starts with a closeup of a fire team racing to a fire in a confectioner's shop. The scene is obviously fake because of the background and the fake horses. The actors jostle about and spout wisecracks. At the scene of the fire, we see a madhouse of onlookers and employees. The employees are taking tables and chairs out of the shop and setting them up in the street to avoid losing customers. The confectioner is in a panic as he tries to save a huge wedding cake. Smoke billows from the building but upstairs there is music and singing as Strauss and Rasi go through one of his compositions. The sequence is manic, full of pratfalls and sight gags.

At a dress shop across the street the countess is trying to buy a dress but the models are all watching the fire. When a bumbling fireman carries Rasi down a ladder, she tears her dress off and must run to the dress shop for clothing. She meets the countess who is asking to meet the man playing that piano. Thus begins the triangle.

Almost as a subplot, we get the adversarial relationship between the father and son since the film really focuses on the "love story." Although Hitchcock always thought this film his worst, there is much to enjoy. The pacing is brisk. The dramatic story is lightened by comic episodes. The direction is very fluid (if not florid) like the music, and the music is terrific, especially the climactic "Blue Danube" number.

Also notable are the sets. You would expect very fussy, claustrophobic rooms filled with furniture and ponderous draperies but the sets are mostly spartan, white, softly lit. In one scene the countess sits having coffee in a huge white room before huge curtainless windows. Not what you'd think of for 1850s Vienna.

The acting is uneven, with Matthews and Knight overacting and Gwenn and Compton underacting. The comic scenes are very broad and involve pratfalls into cakes, slapping, falling down stairs, etc. Yet it all seems to work.

Matthews hated this film and Hitchcock. England's premiere musical star of the time doesn't get to dance and only warbles here and there. She definitely takes a backseat to the Strauss music, but she's at her prettiest in this film. Esmond Knight's character reminded me of Marius Goring's manic composer in THE RED SHOES right down to the hair cut. Gwenn, for all his billing, gets less screen time than Matthews, Knight, and even Fay Compton.


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