Monday, December 28, 2009

The Emperor Waltz (1948)


IMDB Rating: 6.0/10
Runtime: 106 mins
Language: English
Country: USA
Color: Technicolor
IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040317/

Director: Billy Wilder
Cast:
Bing Crosby ... Virgil Smith
Joan Fontaine ... Johanna Augusta Franziska
Roland Culver ... Baron Holenia
Lucile Watson ... Princess Bitotska
Richard Haydn ... Emperor Franz-Josef
Harold Vermilyea ... Chamberlain
Sig Ruman ... Dr. Zwieback
Julia Dean ... Archduchess Stephanie
Bert Prival ... Chauffeur
Alma Macrorie ... Inn Proprietress
Roberta Jonay ... Chambermaid
John Goldsworthy ... Obersthofmeister

A traveling salesman and a baron's daughter!! Can you imagine that!!

I cannot understand these "IMDB Ratings". If one is to believe the rating it has got, one would think this is just about an okay movie, but one would be very wrong. This is a rare gem...a classic that for some inexplicable reason has remained hidden in the vault of Billy Wilder awesomeness.

The movie begins with Bing Crosby coming to Austria to sell the emperor of Austria a gramaphone, the first one in Austria. While he sits in the waiting room, hoping to meet the emperor, the gentry there think that he has with him a time bomb to assassinate the emperor with! What follows is a hilarious scene in which the palace guard rush away with his gramaphone and dunk it in the palace pond.
See this exchange of lines between Virgil Smith (Bing) and the Chamberlain who wants to arrest him.

Chamberlain: Search him! Who're your confederates? We want every name!
Virgil Smith: Is this the emperor's palace or a looney bin?
Chamberlain:You came here as a potentate. Are you a potentate?
Virgil Smith: I may have stretched things a little but I'm a shriner. Paid up!
Chamberlain: You're a nihilist - that's what you are!
Virgil Smith: I am not! I'm a Presbyterian!
Chamberlain: A lie again (as he peers at Bing's papers), it says here that you're a salesman!
Virgil Smith: Listen wobbleface! Isn't it possible for a guy to be a Presbyterian, shriner and a salesman?
Chamberlain: Now you're trying to confuse me!
Virgil Smith: I am also a registered democrat, a junior member of the Chamber of Commerce, a sandlot third baseman, I am known...
Chamberlain:Not so fast!
Virgil Smith: I have to talk fast, if I don't my sample's going to rust in your fishpond!

This is just one example of the numerous funny episodes in the movie. Bing Crosby has always been really good with humour. I love the way he delivers his lines. Absolutely brilliant!

The movie follows two love stories. Two rich ladies and two relatively poor gentlemen. I'm talking about the baron's daughter (Joan Fontaine) and her dog and the poor sales man (Bing Crosby) and his dog!
It's really wonderful how the story unfolds. You wouldn't think it possible that a man in Bing's position and a lady in Ms.Fontaine's position could hit it off...but well with the right kind of a song and a voice like his, anything's possible :)

There's a bit of thing about her position and the dogs are an integral part of the movie too. It all ties in very neatly. :)

I'll let you see it for yourself. You'll see what I mean.
The story is simple and beautiful. The setting absolutely magical. I love the sets and the scenery ...just the way everything looks in the movie.
I thought the movie was simply beautiful.
Totally recommend it to anyone who loves a romantic little story every now and then...and if you like Bing Crosby, you simply can't miss this can you! It's a Bing Crosby movie all the way!

The Moviemania Rating: 8.5/10 
It's beautifully made, it's funny, it's romantic, it's made by Billy Wilder and it has BING CROSBY!
How could you go wrong with all that!






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