“Ever since I met you, nothing makes sense.”
When the bored crown prince of Austria (Charles Boyer), who has been forced by his father (Jean Dax) into a marriage of convenience with a Belgian princess (Yolande Laffon), meets a beautiful young baroness (Danielle Darrieux), he becomes completely enamored and stops his womanizing ways — but does the couple have any chance at a life together?
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Anatole Litvak Films
- Charles Boyer Films
- Danielle Darrieux Films
- French Films
- Royalty and Nobility
- Star-Crossed Lovers
Based on the real-life murder-suicide pact of Crown Prince Rudolf and his lover Mary Freiin von Vetsera — known as the Mayerling Incident given its occurrence at a hunting lodge in Mayerling, Austria — this star-crossed romance by director Anatole Litvak features stunning young Danielle Darrieux (just 19 at the time) as a woman faithful and loving enough to capture even the most jaded playboy-heart.
Perhaps most interesting early on are scenes of some of the entertainment opportunities Boyer attends to pass his time — including a surreal slap-dance-fight (?):
… and “swan ringing” at a carnival (done to impress Darrieux):
The remainder of the storyline is fairly standard doomed-romance fare, though the ending provides more of a jolt than expected — and it’s all very atmospherically filmed.
Note: It was interesting reading up on Boyer after watching this film; he married the love of his life in 1934 and committed suicide two days after her death in 1978. So much for his movie-star persona as a womanizing Frenchman! (He was also multi-lingual — speaking not only English and French but German, Spanish, and Italian — and had a degree in philosophy from the Sorbonne.)
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
- Fine performances by the leads
- Atmospheric cinematography
No, though it’s worth a one-time look.