A voluptuous romance, with Boyer as the Archduke Rudolf, tragically smitten with Darrieux' Maria Vetsera. Litvak is equally good at conveying the tidal wave of passion that drowned the heir to the throne, and the moral opprobrium that consumes the Hapsburg court. Of course it is novelettish, Barbara Cartland rubbish, but done with extraordinary skill and commitment. Boyer is ideal as the doomed and dissolute romancer who was never up to ruling anyway; and Darrieux is not only exquisitely beautiful, she's alive as well. The visual opulence rivals anything in Hollywood, where Litvak, a Jewish-Russian refugee, was hastily whisked, to produce wartime propaganda movies. This is his one really estimable picture, which he remade in 1957 for TV.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Joseph Kessel, Irmgard von Cube|