of Cinema Max Ophüls
brought to film in 1950 the highly-praised
masterpiece La Ronde, a much-admired
adaptation from Arthur Schnitzlers
renowned play set in Vienna in 1900,
now newly restored in high-definition
and available on home entertainment... IN
A STUNNINGLY REMASTERED VERSION from the original negative of La Ronde,
the French masterpiece from master of cinema Max Ophüls (Letter From An Unknown
Woman; Lola Montes) is set to arrive on Blu-ray and DVD this Spring.
Praised by directors, critics and movie buffs alike, the film is one of the
most acclaimed adaptations of the play of the same name written in 1897 by Arthur
Schnitzler (Eyes Wide Shut), who had not originally intended it for publication,
and set in Vienna in the early 1900s. However, it was finally performed publicly
for the first time in 1920.
is very stylish,
and a tribute to
Ronde features some of France's most respected actors and begins with The
Narrator (the wonderful Anton Walbrook: The Red Shoes; The Life and Death
of Colonel Blimp) singing at the La Ronde de l'Amour (Love's Roundabout),
a song composed by Oscar Straus and Louis Ducreux: "When love is coming to
surprise soldiers or aristocrats, they all dance to the same tune". The
Narrator is approached by the prostitute Léocadie, but he kindly tells her he
is not part of the play and that it begins with her.
The stage is set and the narrator takes the viewer through the various scenes,
talking to the participants from various walks of life and to the camera, reminiscent
of Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (played by Michael Palin
in the 2018 television adaptation), first published in 1848.
Winning the BAFTA Best Film Award and earning well-deserved double Oscar nominations,
the globally-acclaimed La Ronde's scene-setting opening is several minutes
long and is described as an astounding cinematic masterwork by The Observer
as "one of the marvels of cinema".
Beginning this dance of love where partners continually change is the first
of ten interlinked vignettes where pairs of lovers become romantically entwined.
Street prostitute Léocadie (Simone Signoret: Les Diaboliques; Room at the
Top) offers herself to a seemingly reluctant Franz (Serge Reggiani: The
Leopard; The Lovers of Verona), a soldier, in an archway under a bridge.
She appears to feel something for him, but he moves on.
Franz seduces Marie (Simone Simon: Cat People; La Bete Humane), a parlour
maid whom he meets at a dance hall but then she in turn moves on willingly to
an excited Alfred (Daniel Gélin: The Man Who Knew Too Much; Napoleon),
the son of her employers.
But Alfred has his eyes on another conquest. He seduces Emma (Danielle Darrieux),
the much younger wife of Charles Breitkopf (Fernand Gravey), and we also see
Emma in bed with her husband.
Not surprisingly, Charles has his head turned by another: Anna (Odette Joyeux)
works in a shop and Charles takes her to a private room to get her drunk. Anna
is smitten with Robert Kuhlenkampf (Jean-Louis Barrault), a poet, but he has
designs upon and is actively pursuing Charlotte (Isa Miranda), an actress.
The following morning Charlotte invites a French nobleman, the Comte (Gerard
Philipe) to her bed and to complete the chain of events, while drunk he beds
Léocadie. All that's missing is an audience to clap.
Drawing a comparison with the delightful carousel that spins gently at the beginning
of the film, we have been treated to an amorous merry-go-round. Life is a carousel…
A fascinating story of romance and infidelity, La Ronde (a circular dance)
was filmed in 1950 in black-and-white and has a fine sense of the period. Although
the theme is exploring sexual morals (or lack of them!) across various levels
of society, from a woman of the streets to an aristocrat, it is not sexually
explicit and the scenes show the participants either before or after their sexual
Admired for its breathtaking use of long takes and beautiful fluid camera moves
that create a wonderful atmosphere, La Ronde is very stylish, utterly
French, light-hearted and a tribute to filming techniques. With sets passing
for 1900s Vienna, it is filmed in a studio in France, as graceful as a Viennese
waltz; deliberately theatrical and skilfully designed to great advantage while
making no attempt to be anything other than it is.
The narrator changes the trenchcoat he wears initially to don a tuxedo in keeping
with the scenes, then at the end of the film he is back on the street and once
again wearing the coat. A brilliant cast of well-known French actors and actresses
in an appealing film.
La Ronde also features: Jean Clarieux as Le Brigadier sur le banc.
Music is by Oscar Strauss; Cinematography is by Christian Matras; Writing is
by Arthur Schnitzler (Play), Jacques Natanson (Adaptation & Dialogue), and Max
Ophüls (Adaptation); Costumes Designed by Georges Annenkov; and Directed by
* Bluebell Films is delighted to announce
the arrival of a newly restored version of La Ronde on Blu-ray and DVD
in the UK on 27 May 2019. Certificate: PG | Running Time: 93 Minutes | Catalogue
Number: BLF035 and BLB035 | RRP: Blu-ray: £17.99; DVD: £14.99 | English Subtitles
| Extras: Stills Galleries & New Subtitles.
"La Ronde is very stylish, utterly French, light-hearted and a tribute
to filming techniques… deliberately theatrical and skilfully designed…" ****
Maggie Woods, MotorBar
"Great Camera moves… A beautifully choreographed ballet" Stanley Kubik
"Irresistible" Time Out
"Max Ophüls' most enduring popular film… beguiling" The Observer