The Secret of Mayerling (1949)

  |  Drama

The Secret of Mayerling (1949) Poster

On the morning of January 30, 1889, the Archduke Rodolphe de Habsbourg and his mistress Marie Vetsera were found dead. The remains of Rodolphe are discreetly repatriated to Hofburg, while ... See full summary »


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Jean Delannoy


Jean Delannoy, Philippe Hériat, Jacques Rémy

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1 December 2019 | brogmiller
| We will never know.
This is a darkly atmospheric film with mise-en-scene by Jean Delannoy, cinematography by Robert Lefebvre and production design by Raymond Druart. The claustrophobic nature of Court life is brilliantly captured. Crown Prince Rudolph as portrayed by Jean Marais in one of his best performances, is a far cry from that of Boyer in 1935 and Sharif in 1968. He suggests very subtly the character's psychological instability which we now know was caused either by addiction to morphine, syphilis(Rudolph was notoriously promiscuous) or the mental frailty that ran through the Hapsburg dynasty. Perhaps it was a combination! He appears to love Marie Vetsera, sympathetically portrayed by Dominique Blanchar (daughter of Pierre) but does he have an ulterior motive? The supporting cast is first class. Sylvia Montfort, one of her generation's finest tragediennes, is fascinating in a smaller role as Stephanie and there is a lovely performance as Countess Marie by an actress who appeared under many pseudonyms including Monika Burg and Paulette Keller but here is billed as Claude Farell. Her character has probably at one time been a mistress of Rudolph's but has now taken on the role of his procuress! Jeanne Marken very good as Marie Vetsera's mother and stalwart Jean Debucourt adds dignitas as Emperor Franz Joseph. What about the ending?! Well, there have been so many theories, some pausible, some outlandish, as to what actually occurred at Mayerling on the night of 30th January 1889, that the ending here might not be as outrageous as would first appear. Best to leave it with the words of Franz Joseph himself:'the truth is far worse than all versions'.

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