6.2/10
432
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 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:

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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

Edited into Spisok korabley (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Der Wind hat mir ein Lied erzählt
Music by Lothar Brühne
Lyrics Bruno Balz
Also Sung by André Heller
See more »

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User Reviews

A tarnished angel's imitation of life.
20 April 2009 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

This is the first of the two melodramas Detlef Sierck made with Zarah Leander,and although it is more celebrated and more popular,I think that its screenplay is definitely weaker than that of "Zu Neue Ufern" aka "Paramatta" or even the overlooked " Stutzen Der Gesellschaft" (1935) which predates many of Sierck's topics which will be developed in "all that Heaven allows" notably.But the directing is more inventive in "Habanera".

It's strange that both "Habanera" and "zu Neue Ufern" are "exotic" works ,both taking place in South America;but while in the latter ,Europa (England that is) is considered a country where prudery (this scandalous show!)and cruelty (the heroine is sentenced to hard labor for 600 miserable pounds)rule,it plays an opposite role in the former:Sweden is some kind of Eldorado -one should note that Detlef Sierck is Danish and his star is Swedish- where civilization reigns and where science and medicine allow their citizens to live in freedom and happiness.The heroine's new hot land is the country of crooked physicians ,of corrupt cops ,of evil.

Detlef Sierck's directing is the best of the four German movies I've seen by him.He creates a stifling atmosphere with his dark rooms ,without showing any sun,where the shadows of the blinds reflect on the heroine and give the viewer the strange feeling she is in jail.The only freshness he gets is provided by a sequence in Sweden and,oddly,when the heroine tells her son about her country .

Zarah Leander sings ,but nothing here approaches her sensational "yes sir ,no sir" in the music hall in "Zu Neue Ufern" .But her rendition of "la Habanera" has a great emotional power ,because her former love is listening to her .

To those who would think that Sirk was embracing Nazi ideology: 1)He left Germany after "zu neuen Ufern" the same year. 2)His first American movie "Hitler's madman" was a strong anti-Nazi manifesto,actually propaganda 3)He made " a time to love and a time to die" in 1958,from E.M.Remarque,the pacifist writer whose books were burned by the Nazis;it tells the story of a German soldier who died in WW2;exactly what happened to Sirk's own son.


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