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La Ronde
La Ronde “Master of cinema Max Ophul brought
  to film in 1950 the highly-praised
  masterpiece La Ronde, a much-admired
  adaptation from Arthur Schnitzler’s
  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 Ophül (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.

La Ronde
is very stylish,
utterly French,
light-hearted
and a tribute to
filming techniques…
deliberately theatrical
and skilfully
designed...”
La 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 encounters.

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 Ophuls (Adaptation); Costumes Designed by Georges Annenkov; and Directed by Max Opuls.

* 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 Ophuls' most enduring popular film… beguiling" — The Observer
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