2 January 2005 | guidon7
The Great Waltz is Wunderbar
Perhaps the number one Hollywood musical film of all time. "Gorgeous Korjus" was coined and used by Louis B. Mayer to promote her film career, which understandably would be short. Not only is she gorgeous in GW but turns in an excellent acting performance which drew an academy award nomination. Her acting role rivals or exceeds consummate actress and two-time academy award winner, Luise Reiner. Displaying the temperament of a real primadonna, Miss Korjus turns on her good and bad sides when you least expect it. Vocal waltzes are extremely difficult to sing and Korjus with her coloratura soprano does admirably. Frenchman Fernand Gravet is believable as Strauss (as far as the film is believable) and ably supported by the likes of Lionel Atwill and Hugh Herbert along with many others, few of whom have a Teutonic accent, but we still have a romantic view of old Vienna. It is not a factual biography, which is stated at the beginning of the film, but there are elements of truth in the composite of Strauss the Elder and Strauss the younger as performed by Gravet (Strauss the Younger was a womanizer and while married actually had a liaison with an opera singer, among others). The Vienna Woods segment is pure joy. Strauss playing Tales from the Vienna Woods on his violin and Carla Donner singing in accompaniment's, their whirling dancing, ending up on the ground, where Strauss goes no further and wistfully admits "Carla, I'm married." The audience, I think, expects a tantrum from Donner at this revelation, but she gracefully takes it in stride and fools us once again with her unpredictability! This scene, to me, was the high point of an exceptional film of the type we shall never see again.