ⓘ Mayerling (1936 film)

                                     

ⓘ Mayerling (1936 film)

Mayerling is a 1936 French historical drama film directed by Anatole Litvak and produced by Seymour Nebenzal from a screenplay by Marcel Achard, Joseph Kessel, and Irma von Cube, based on the 1930 novel Idylls End by Claude Anet.

The film stars Charles Boyer and Danielle Darrieux with Rene Bergeron, Jean Davy, Jean Dax, Jean Debucourt and Gabrielle Dorziat, and Jean-Louis Barrault in a bit part. The film is based on the real-life story of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, his affair with the 17-year-old Baroness Maria Vetsera and their tragic end at Mayerling.

The film was remade twice. Once as the 1957 film Mayerling directed by Anatole Litvak himself and starring Mel Ferrer and Audrey Hepburn. It was also remade as the 1968 film Mayerling in color by MGM, starring Omar Sharif, Catherine Deneuve, James Mason, and Ava Gardner.

                                     

1. Plot

Vienna is disturbed by protestors agitating for political change. Crown Prince Rudolph is arrested at a meeting. His father Emperor Franz Joseph insists he get married and settle down. Rudolph reluctantly agrees.

Five years later, Rudolph has become an unhappy playboy. On the night of his wedding anniversary he meets Baroness Marie Vetsera and they fall in love.

                                     

2. Cast

  • Yolande Laffron as Stephanie
  • Jean Debucourt as Count Taafe
  • Gina Manes as Marinka
  • Jean Dax as Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria
  • Gabrielle Dorziat as Empress Elisabeth
  • Rene Bergeron as Szeps
  • Suzy Prim as Countess Larisch
  • Andre Dubosc as Loschek the Valet
  • Marthe Regnier as Baroness Vetsera Helene
  • Charles Boyer as Archduke Rudolph of Austria
  • Danielle Darrieux as Marie Vetsera
  • Raymond Aimos
  • Vladimir Sokoloff as Chief of Police
                                     

3. Reception

Writing for The Spectator in 1936, Graham Greene gave the film a poor review, describing it as "purposeless" and "a too romantic manner for taste". Greene particularly criticizes the conclusion of the film which he characterized as "a Vienna musical without the music: a pathetic ending". Greene did, however, praise the films production and acting.