From Vienna with Love: Julien Duvivier’s The Great Waltz Delivers Capital-C Culture in 35 Lowercase-m mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $2

Wednesday, January 31 @ 7:30 PM
THE GREAT WALTZ
 Directed by Julien Duvivier • 1938
Louis B. Mayer’s very favorite M-G-M picture is a highly fictitious account of the early years of beloved Austrian composer Johann Strauss. Fernand Gravet plays our hero, a modest bank clerk who loses his job and begins composing waltzes with a group of scrappy musicians when three-quarter time was the punkest thing ever; Luise Rainer is Strauss’s wife, and the totally radiant real-life coloratura Miliza Korjus (pronounced “Gorgeous,” according to trailer) steals the show as the famous opera singer Clara Donner. A no-expense-spared mega-production complete with 90-piece orchestra, the film’s musical sequences (including one, not even the best one, directed by Josef von Sternberg) are transcendent, and at the time represented the best presentation of Strauss’s music that most of the American public had ever heard. Julien Duvivier, fresh off the success of Pépé le Moko, directed, with cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg, who won the Academy Award that year. (JA)
104 min • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer • 35mm from Chicago Film Society collections, permission Warner Bros. (Swank)
Film Stock: Eastman B+W (1962)
Cartoon: “Mr. Strauss Takes a Walk” (George Pal, 1942) – 16mm – 7 min

 

 

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