The first of two films dealing with the life of Johann Strauss, THE GREAT WALTZ revolves around the fine portrayal of the great composer by Fernand Gravet (whose real name, Gravey, was changed by studio bosses who thought it would be laughed at by English-speaking audiences). Strauss quits
his job in a Viennese banking house to follow his star and gets a job leading a local orchestra, conducting his own compositions. He marries Poldi Vogelhuber (Luise Rainer), a baker's daughter, but soon begins carrying on with opera singer Carla Donner (Miliza Korjus). Poldi keeps mum for a while,
then decides to fight for her man, and storms the theater after the opening of Strauss' first full opera. Naturally, it all works out in the end, but the fun is in the telling and in the glorious Strauss music. Korjus, who was sort of the European version of Mae West, demonstrates a brilliant
voice here, but reigning MGM musical star Jeanette MacDonald made it clear that there wasn't room on the Culver City lot for two sopranos, so Korjus faded into obscurity soon afterward. She did receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for this film, however, losing to Fay
Bainter for JEZEBEL. The film won an Oscar for Best Cinematography and was nominated for Best Editing. This overlooked gem of a film also features solid comedy from Hugh Herbert as Strauss's publisher and stalwart work from Hull in the role of Emperor Franz Josef.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: The first of two films dealing with the life of Johann Strauss, THE GREAT WALTZ revolves around the fine portrayal of the great composer by Fernand Gravet (whose real name, Gravey, was changed by studio bosses who thought it would be laughed at by English-… (more)