Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, is fettered on all sides. He's bored; his father, the emperor, is domineering; his politics are more liberal than his father's, but he knows his views carry... See full summary »
In the poor, desolate northern provinces of the mountainous feudal Sunni kingdom of Afghanistan (before the Soviet-engineered republican revolutions), the status of the proud men and their ... See full summary »
Anthology film about three owners of a yellow Rolls-Royce. A British diplomat buys the car for his French wife. A mobster's girlfriend has an affair in Italy. An American woman drives a Yugoslavian partisan to Ljubljana on the eve of the Nazi invasion.
It's the late nineteenth century Austria. The Emperor Franz-Joseph and his son, the Crown Prince, Archduke Rudolf, have never seen eye to eye. While the Emperor retains the traditions of the empire in the rapidly changing world keeping it a police state, Rudolf is liberal, wanting to see the people have a say in what happens in their lives. Rudolf even rejected the Emperor's choice of a Spanish wife for him, he instead choosing Belgian Stephanie as his wife, that marriage which he himself never saw and will never see as anything more than a political alliance, Stephanie who he considers a shrew. While Rudolf has almost an unhealthy infatuation with his mother, the Empress Elizabeth, she has largely been an absent figure from Vienna and thus his life. As Franz-Joseph has had his steady mistress in Elizabeth's frequent absences, he has allowed Rudolf to have the same in the form of actress Mitzi Kaspar as the Emperor knows she could never be more than a dalliance and as she retains a ...Written by
The opening credits appear against of a colour-changing background of glass frosted with ice flowers. At times, the ice is cleared, as though by a warm breath, and reveals the double-headed eagle of the Austro-Hungarian empire. See more »
There are 2 versions of this movie released on 2 DVD by Studio Canal France : The International Version and the French Version. Many scenes when Omar Shariff and Catherine Deneuve are together have been filmed twice, once in English and once in French. The editing and the running time is different. See more »
Nice cinematography but history is given a rough ride.
All modern historians agree that it was not the "impossible " love depicted in all Mayerling versions.No Rudolph did not throw away his empire for the love of Mary!He had at the time of his affair with baroness Vetsera other mistresses(the most famous was Mizzi Kaspar).Too bad for those who are still dreaming of romantic passion,but the harsh truth is that Rudolph was a jaded man,using morphine to relieve his sufferings .He was seriously ill,since he contracted a VD.Historian Jean-Paul Bled goes as far as to say he would not have outlived his father anyway(think that his father died in 1916!).Just before his death he was not physically the handsome man played by Omar Shariff anymore!As for Mary,she was seventeen (Deneuve was already too old in spite of her stunning beauty),and she did love Prince Rudolph,but she was too young to understand that she was used by her lover as a helping hand to die:Rudolph had already asked Mizzi(see above) to die with him because he was frightened to pass away ALONE.
Another scene is completely refuted by every earnest historian:during the ball in the German Embassy,Mary refuses to bow before Rudolph's wife Stephanie.Or ,absolutely nobody,among these who attended the reception,spoke
about it afterward.The only person who mentions it is Countess Marie Larish,who was not invited,and who was a very shady and perverse lady,who wrote a book called "my past" .And what a past!She was Empress Elisabeth's niece,child of a misalliance:Sissi's brother had married an actress.In the Mayerling saga ,she played a very bad part,that of a go-between(Genevieve Page in the movie)
The imperial couple reunited James Mason and Ava Gardner ,who were the leads in "Pandora and the flying Dutchman" (Lewin,1951),a treat for cinema buffs.The cinematography is dazzling,and at least the story was filmed where it took place.Francis Lai's score is nice too(Un Homme Et Une Femme,1966,love story,1970).The director ,Terence Young ,is the movies odd-job man:James Bond (Dr No,From Russia with love,thunderball),the amorous adventures of Moll Flanders,wait until dark,the Christmas tree,spy thriller,horror,melodrama,not a genius but a competent craftsman.
After Mayerling,the hunting lodge was razed to the ground and the emperor had a nunnery built on the site.Hence the necessity to film the last part in a studio.
Another scene completely made up from start to finish is the Deneuve /Gardner meeting.At the time ,Elisabeth had become the wandering empress she would remain until her death in 1898,nine years after the Mayerling tragedy.She used to shun Vienna,the Court ,the étiquette and even politics.But the movie is true for one thing:she was here when Rudolph died.Marie Larish(Genevieve Page),the go-between, was her protégée,but she would realize too late what a perverse creature she was.
Rudolph was a depressed man,who failed twice:politically,he was kept out of things by his father and his plots led to nowhere.He used to worry about the Monarchy's (actually a double one,Austrian and Hungarian since 1867)future and he dreamed of federalism and parliamentary democracy;besides,his marriage was on the rocks,his wife Stephanie(Andréa Parisy) being unable to give birth to another child. The opening scene is the only one which deals with politics:a student riot during which Rudolph is arrested by the police:once again,it's very implausible,since the Kronprinz's actions were watched day and night by Francis Joseph's henchmen.Even his numerous -and almost absent here ,to give the movie a romantic flavor-mistresses used to "help" police reports.
The best thing-one user noticed it- is Marie Larish's obnoxious behavior.Genevieve Page is remarkable,acting with Mary Vetsera like a spider with a fly,unbeknown-st to her mother (Mony Dalmes).
Outside Litvak's version ,already mentioned by some users,there's also Jean Delannoy's "le secret de Mayerling" (1949),with Jean Marais as Rudolph which has a rather good reputation,in spite of a weird ending:Bismarck was behind the lovers' assassination.Even stranger:when Zita,Austria's last empress ,came back from exile in the early eighties,she hinted at a political assassination as well.
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