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Liebelei [VHS]

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Manufacturer Description

This early Max Ophüls melodrama became his first big success. A young philandering army officer, trapped in a loveless affair with the wife of a strutting baron, falls in love with a shy young seamstress but cannot escape repercussions of his past. As the giddy lovers frolic through an idyllic romance (a lovely sleigh ride through the snow-covered forest becomes a swooning expression of their emotional innocence), the suspicious baron demands honor be served. Based on a play by Arthur Schnitzler (whose Reigen Ophüls later adapted for La Ronde), Liebelei contrasts the obsession with appearances and social decorum of high society with the rash sincerity and energy of youth in a style more visual than verbal. The restless camera of Ophüls's later work is only hinted at here, but the handsome photography and lush décor create a constrictive world where tradition rules. The opening opera house scene is especially striking, where character and class become defined simultaneously, and the haunting climax is so effective that Ophüls revived and refined it for The Earrings of Madame de.... The 1933 production was subsequently suppressed by the Nazis for its jaundiced view of honor and Prussian authoritarianism, and they attempted to destroy all copies of the film. Its survival is a minor miracle; the footage is at times choppy but overall surprisingly clean and clear. --Sean Axmaker

Key Product Details

  • Director: Max Ophüls
  • Number Of Discs: 1
  • Run Time: 88 (Minutes)
  • UPC: 738329008925