6.1/10
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16 user 11 critic

La Habanera (1937)

Trapped in Puerto Rico, a beautiful young Swede is torn between her passionate, but mildly abusive South American oligarch husband and her longing for her European homeland.

Director:

Douglas Sirk (as Detlef Sierck)

Writer:

Gerhard Menzel
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Cast

Credited cast:
Zarah Leander ... Astree Sternhjelm
Ferdinand Marian ... Don Pedro de Avila
Karl Martell ... Dr. Sven Nagel
Julia Serda Julia Serda ... Tante Ana Sternhjelm
Boris Alekin Boris Alekin ... Dr. Luis Gomez
Paul Bildt Paul Bildt ... Dr. Pardway
Edwin Jürgensen Edwin Jürgensen ... Shumann
Carl Kuhlmann Carl Kuhlmann ... Prefect
Michael Schulz-Dornburg Michael Schulz-Dornburg ... Little Juan de Avila
Rosita Alcaraz Rosita Alcaraz ... Spanish dancer
Lisa Helwig Lisa Helwig ... Rosita - Don Pedro's old servant
Géza Földessy Géza Földessy ... Chauffeur (as Geza von Foeldessy)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Franz Arzdorf Franz Arzdorf ... Doctor #1 in Puerto Rico
Roma Bahn Roma Bahn ... Ebba
Günther Ballier Günther Ballier ... Steward
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Storyline

Astrée Sternhjelm is visiting Puerto Rico with her aunt Ana, and is enchanted by the island. The day before leaving she meets the wealthy Don Pedro at a bullfight arena, and is infatuated by him. Just before the ship takes off, she hears the song "La Habanera" sung by some natives at the quay. The song strikes a chord in her heart, and without hesitating she leaves the boat to find Don Pedro. After some weeks they get married. Ten years later her paradise has turned into hell. She is locked up with her son Juan in the big estate by her jealous and controlling husband. In Stockholm her aunt Ana is financing a foundation, which is sending two doctors to Puerto Rico to research a tropical fever. One of them, Dr. Sven Nagel, was once in love with Astrée, and the aunt asks him to find out what has happened to her niece. When the two doctors arrive to the island, they are met with hostility from the authorities and the local doctors, who are afraid that news about the tropical fever in the ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

30 December 1937 (Slovenia) See more »

Also Known As:

Habanera See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universum Film (UFA) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Tobis-Klangfilm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

German censorship visa # B.47111 delivered on 17-12-1937. See more »

Quotes

Astree Sternhjelm: You know, I turned back at the last moment ten years ago as the steamer was casting off. The island seemed to me like a paradise back then. Later, it came to seem like hell.
Dr. Sven Nagel: And now?
Astree Sternhjelm: Now? I have no regrets.
Dr. Sven Nagel: Regret is always foolish.
Astree Sternhjelm: La Habanera...
See more »

Connections

Featured in Legenden: Zarah Leander (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

A-B-C ... Kinderlied
Music by Ralph Benatzky
Lyrics by Ralph Benatzky
Performed by Zarah Leander and Michael Schulz-Dornburg
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good acting with an OK storyline.
11 November 2015 | by nicolechan916See all my reviews

The acting was good, and convincing enough . Ferdinand Marian as the jealous husband plays his part well, and does seem a little crazy. Zarah Leander as one of the leading actresses in Germany did well too, though I reckon most of her roles are similar in that she needs to act cool, and sing with her characteristic deep voice. Leander can be seen as a substitute for Marlene Dietrich who left for America, and Leander's role here reminds me of Dietrich's role in Blonde Venus. There are some similarities to both narratives as well as both women's role as a mother. Karl Martell and Boris Alekin were pretty much the only ones who seemed to brighten up the film with their charismatic persona.

The story was interesting enough for the most part, though it is interesting to analyse the film in terms of Nazi propaganda. The Puerto Ricans are depicted as uncivilized, rough and corrupt, while the Swedish (ultimately the Germans) are seen in clean environments and depicted as rich, gentlemanly and having better technology. Plus, the son is the ideal image of an Aryan. Coincidence? I think not! (Leander's character is established as Swedish so as to divert any accusations that this film is Nazi propaganda. I really didn't think about this at all, but that is what my professor says, and it makes sense)

Though the ending does cause some confusion. Asteree says she has no regrets, but throughout the film she complains miserably about how she wasted her life there. Making the message at the end a little ambiguous.

Read more movie reviews at: championangels.wordpress.com


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