La Ronde DVD...
a stunningly remastered version from the original negative of the French masterpiece
from master of cinema Max Ophül...
PRAISED BY DIRECTORS, CRITICS AND MOVIE BUFFS, La Ronde is one of
the most acclaimed adaptations of the play of the same name written in 1897
by Arthur Schnitzler (Eyes Wide Shut), set in Vienna in the early 1900s.
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).
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.
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
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.
"La Ronde is very stylish, utterly French, light-hearted and a tribute
to filming techniques… deliberately theatrical and skilfully designed…" ****
Maggie Woods, MotorBar
Win the DVD To be in with a chance of winning a copy of La Ronde
tell us when it was originally filmed?
Only one entry per person. Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org before
the closing date of 17 July.
Please also make sure you put 'LA RONDE' in the subject line and include
your name, age, address, and a contact number.