Despite a fine performance by Sharif and an opulent setting, this is a disappointing film. Sharif plays the real-life Prince of Hapsburg, circa 1888. Disgusted with the royal life, he joins his fellow students in demonstrations for the liberation of Hungary in open defiance of his father,
Mason. A politically arranged marriage to Parisy only drives Sharif to morphine and a series of affairs. But when he meets Deneuve, the 17-year-old daughter of a nouveau riche family, he falls in love. Mason disapproves, however, because her family are commoners, and he forbids Sharif to see the
girl. She is sent off to Venice while Sharif is forced to go on an inspection tour. He tries to get his unhappy marriage annulled but to no avail. Gardner, playing Sharif's mother, suggests that he meet Deneuve at a family hunting lodge near Vienna. While there, word comes that the Hungarian
revolt is successful and Mason knows of Sharif's part in the plans. Knowing they will never be happy, the lovers kill themselves by pistol. The grand scope of the film often overruns the story, and unlike in other historical epics such as DOCTOR ZHIVAGO or REDS, the human element is lost beneath
the historical events. The film also suffers from poorly written dialog. The acting is fairly good by the principals, though Gardner is a little young to be believable as the mother. Had the film been shortened in both length and scope, it might have been an interesting work. As it is, MAYERLING
hopscotches its way through people and history, never really doing as much as it could with the strong source material. A far better version with the same title was made in France in 1936. The Grand Ballet Classique de France, under the direction of Claude Giraud, performs "Giselle."
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Despite a fine performance by Sharif and an opulent setting, this is a disappointing film. Sharif plays the real-life Prince of Hapsburg, circa 1888. Disgusted with the royal life, he joins his fellow students in demonstrations for the liberation of Hungar… (more)
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