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      The Great Waltz

      Released Nov 4, 1938 1h 42m Musical List
      Reviews 59% Audience Score 250+ Ratings In 19th century Vienna, Johann "Schani" Strauss II (Fernand Gravey), son of the great composer, endeavors to realize his own talents. With the support of his girlfriend, Poldi (Luise Rainer), and the unexpected patronage of opera star Carla Donner, Schani gains enough success to marry Poldi, but avoids Carla's high society circles. Unexpectedly thrown together with Carla, however, Schani falls in love with her. When she commissions an opera from him, his career rises as his marriage crumbles. Read More Read Less

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      The Great Waltz

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      Critics Reviews

      View All (2) Critics Reviews
      John Kinloch California Eagle Passages of the film are visually magnificent, but the whole lacks dramatic power. Oct 31, 2019 Full Review Ann Ross Maclean's Magazine Story and script have been happily blended here into a pattern both dreamlike and gay. Jul 24, 2019 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (18) audience reviews
      Audience Member As a great admirer of Julien Duvivier and now, at last, having seen The Great Waltz some 60 plus years after it was made I can't help wishing that Duvuvuer had been tempted to Hollywood by something a little more substantial. I don't, of course, know the circumstances but given the horror stories about Hollywood moguls that we were weaned on it's not difficult to imagine a discussion in which the reasoning is 'we're doing a movie about an Austrian waltz king set in Vienna and up to here in schmaltz so why don't we get that French guy who did those things about tough guys in Africa (La Bandera, Pepe Le Moko) and the Popular Front (La Belle Equipe). Great idea, boss, let's get a cable off toot sweet. I wasn't there at the time but with hindsight it's ludicrous that Duvivier followed his masterpiece (just one of his masterpieces actually) Un Carnet du bal with this dross although there is a kind of left-handed logic given that Un Carnet du bal concerned a woman's treasured memories of her first ball where the prevailing mood would have been three-quarter time. Sixty-odd years later trying to look past the wooden Gravet and the 'stage' Austrian accents (ah, Shhsstrrowss) personified by Sig Ruman in the opening scene we're able to salvage the sure-footed direction and directorial touches of Duvivier and see what today looks hokey - the ride in the Vienna woods in which every sound is a musical note contributing to the instant composition Tales Of The Vienna Woods - as the magical sequence it must have seemed to a world hungry for escapism with a major conflict waiting in the wings. Likewise the quicksilver crochets and quavers that dance over an inept bank clerk's ledger in the opening scene - indeed the economy which in that same scene delineates Strauss as a frustrated musician trapped in a world of finance. Known to me more as the wife of another great writer, Clifford Odets, than an actress, Luise Rainer has little to do in the emoting stakes but Duvivier does use her effectively in the scene at the Opera House when he shows us how insignificant is a mere wife against ART, personified in this case by the mighty Opera House, the performers and, of course, Composers. I'm glad I saw it - and indeed now own it thanks to a generous French friend, but I'll be watching both Un Carnet du bal and the film Duvivier made immediately after The Great Waltz, La Fin du jour, much more than returning to this. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/08/23 Full Review Audience Member An enjoyable dramatised film about the life of Johan Strauss II. The performances in this film were better than I expected and the pacing moves along fairly well. The supporting actors give very over-exaggerated performances and are always used as comedic relief which becomes pretty tiring. The start of the film shows Strauss leaving his job at a bank that his father got for him. However, his father is never seen after this. Strauss, then, gets a whole orchestra to work for him for free(?!) and puts on this ball which everyone in the town rushes to dance to. Although, a preposterous scenario, the camerawork was pretty impressive for this sequence (no wonder it won the Best Cinematography Oscar), especially for the time this film was made. He then meets an opera singer who wants him to leave his wife for her. Korjus's singing performance is very impressive but her acting leaves a lot to be desired as she always seems to be talking through her teeth for some reason. Her performance was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar (which I though Luise Rainer was more deserving of) but she lost to Fay Bainter whose performance I also thought was much better and more deserving of the award. I really liked the ending which tried to give an impression of the impact Strauss's music has had on Vienna and was a good call back to his scuffle with Franz Josef II. Overall, a well-paced enjoyable biographical film with a pretty cliched beginning but becomes more watchable somewhat entertaining as it goes on. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/11/23 Full Review steve d None of it is remotely interesting. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review s r Having lived in Vienna, I couldn't help but enjoy this despite its overall shortcomings and embellishment. Korjus got on my nerves. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Lavish MGM musical; the musical sequences are a heady delight. Unfortunately, the script is schmaltzy and sometimes ridiculous. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Audience Member Without the music the story is brief and frail. As the music is an acquired taste you have to be a real fan of Strauss to get anything from this movie. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/01/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Movie Info

      Synopsis In 19th century Vienna, Johann "Schani" Strauss II (Fernand Gravey), son of the great composer, endeavors to realize his own talents. With the support of his girlfriend, Poldi (Luise Rainer), and the unexpected patronage of opera star Carla Donner, Schani gains enough success to marry Poldi, but avoids Carla's high society circles. Unexpectedly thrown together with Carla, however, Schani falls in love with her. When she commissions an opera from him, his career rises as his marriage crumbles.
      Director
      Julien Duvivier
      Producer
      Bernard H. Hyman
      Distributor
      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
      Production Co
      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
      Genre
      Musical
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Nov 4, 1938, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Jul 7, 2016
      Runtime
      1h 42m
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