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Thursday, April 18, 2013

La Ronde (1950)

In the Vienna of 1900, our host (Anton Walbrook) takes us on a roundelay of romantic adventures in which characters from all walks of life fall in love, have liaisons and move on to the next. Thus a prostitute (Simone Signoret) fancies a soldier (Serge Reggiani) who has his eye on a maid (Simone Simon) who is seduced by her employer's son (Daniel Gelin) who is infatuated with a married woman (Danielle Darrieux) whose husband (Fernand Gravey) has a mistress (Odette Joyeux) who falls in love with a poet (Jean Louis Barrault) who desires an actress (Isa Miranda) who has the hots for a Count (Gerard Philipe) who, coming full circle, is entranced by a prostitute (Signoret). Based on the play by Arthur Schnitzier, director Max Ophuls has fashioned an elegant souffle on the vagaries of love. He doesn't dwell on any of the stories long, giving us a tasty morsel of the cinematic dinner party and then quickly moving on to the next course. It may lack the resonance of his greatest achievements like MADAME DE... or LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN but this one is too irresistible to pass up.

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