Released in Paris in 1950, LA RONDE, though quickly hailed as one of Max Ophuls' greatest achievements, was kept from US shores for four years thanks to a judgment of "immoral" by the New York State censorship board. A merry-go-round of romance is detailed in episodic fashion as characters
drift from sequence to sequence, switching lovers as they go.
A young prostitute (Signoret) meets a soldier (Reggiani), who leaves her for a maid (Simon). The maid, however, soon meets another (Gelin), who seduces a wealthy married woman (Darrieux), whose husband is involved with a young worker (Joyeux). This woman in turn loves a poet (Barrault) in love
with an actress (Miranda). The actress, however, loves an officer (Philipe). Love comes around full circle when he calls on the prostitute from the first episode. Each segment is delightfully introduced by a master of ceremonies (Walbrook), who appears with the metaphorical carousel in each of his
Originally Ophuls had planned to adapt a novel by Balzac with Greta Garbo in a lead role, but instead he turned his attentions to the heralded Arthur Schnitzler play, which in his hands emphasized the follies of love over the concerns about syphillis the play explored. One of four masterworks
Ophuls dashed off in the 1950s before his untimely death, LA RONDE explores his recurrent obsession with circles to dizzying effect. The humor is beguiling, the satire on target, Ophuls legendary camerawork is in fine and restless form, and the acting of a very high order.
Signoret is particularly good, but stealing the show, unexpectedly, is the marvelous Walbrook. Indulging the gentle sentiment of the whole undertaking to just the right degree, he is dapper and alert. The moment where one story is interrupted as he quickly reassembles the broken film is
perfection. You're not likely to forget Walbrook's song--a round, of course.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Released in Paris in 1950, LA RONDE, though quickly hailed as one of Max Ophuls' greatest achievements, was kept from US shores for four years thanks to a judgment of "immoral" by the New York State censorship board. A merry-go-round of romance is detailed… (more)