23 user 12 critic

The Emperor Waltz (1948)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 2 July 1948 (USA)
A brash American gramophone salesman tries to get Emperor Franz Joseph's endorsement in turn-of-the-century Austria.


Billy Wilder
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Bing Crosby ... Virgil Smith
Joan Fontaine ... Johanna Augusta Franziska
Roland Culver ... Baron Holenia
Lucile Watson ... Princess Bitotska
Richard Haydn ... Emperor Franz-Josef
Harold Vermilyea ... Chamberlain
Sig Ruman ... Dr. Zwieback
Julia Dean ... Archduchess Stephanie
Bert Prival Bert Prival ... Chauffeur
Alma Macrorie Alma Macrorie ... Inn Proprietress
Roberta Jonay Roberta Jonay ... Chambermaid
John Goldsworthy John Goldsworthy ... Obersthofmeister


Traveling Salesman Virgil Smith wants to sell his Grammophones in pre-WWI Austria. To enhance this, he especially wants to sell one to Emperor Franz Joseph, but at first the Austrian palace guards think he is carrying a bomb. He meets the Countess Johanna von Stolzenberg-Stolzenberg and after the usual misunderstandings, falls in love with her, this is especially assisted by his dog Buttons. But the relation between a Countess and an ordinary U.S. citizen cannot work in Austria, that is the Emperor's opinion. Is he wrong ? Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Paramount's Crowning Entertainment Achievement! Bing's Best Songs!


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Bing Crosby and Richard Haydn also worked together in 1950's Mr. Music. See more »


Baron Holenia: I am not narrow-minded! I could even forgive him being an American if he belonged to one of those Vander, Astor, uh, Rocker, uh, families. But a Mr. Smith?
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Referenced in Edith Head: The Paramount Years (2002) See more »


The Kiss in Your Eyes
Music by Richard Heuberger (uncredited)
English Lyrics by Johnny Burke
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User Reviews

Lightweight but enjoyable.
19 December 2013 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"The Emperor Waltz" is a surprisingly lightweight film considering it was directed by Billy Wilder. This is the same director who'd just won Oscars for "The Lost Weekend" and "Double Indemnity". And, while he also made some great comedies (such as "Some Like it Hot"), "The Emperor Waltz" is surprisingly lightweight--particularly since Wilder's Oscars came just a few years before this film. You'd have thought he would have merited a more prestigious project.

Bing Crosby stars as Virgil Smith--a traveling salesman who is trying to make a sale to Emperor Franz Josef of the Austria-Hungarian Empire!!! This is utterly ridiculous and you just have to turn off your brain to enjoy much of the film--such as the notion of his falling in love with a Countess, the Emperor and Virgil having an informal conversation as well as a dog that is receiving psychotherapy! Yes, it's all very silly and Joan Fontaine and Bing Crosby do make a hilariously mismatched couple. Yet, despite the film's many shortcomings, it IS entertaining. A bit brainless...but entertaining. Certainly no even close to either actor's best but kind of cute.

By the way, buried under all that makeup and facial prosthetics is Richard Hayden--believe it or not!

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English | German

Release Date:

2 July 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Emperor Waltz See more »


Box Office


$4,070,248 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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