La Ronde - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

La Ronde Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 3, 2010
A sexy and charming film by Max Ophuls about the circle of love, symbolized by a carousel. Anton Walbrook is a narrator of sorts, or maybe a one-man chorus, who leads us through a chain of events where one romance leads to another. This is the 2nd film with Walbrook that I've seen in as many months, and I finding that I enjoy his work a great deal. I'm not a fan of musicals, and when Walbrook started singing in the beginning, I was tempted to turn it off. I'm glad I didn't. Some clever dialogue and a fun scene where the carousel breaks down at the same time that one of the male characters has a...ummm..."equipment malfunction". He gets his groove back eventually, and the carousel begins working again. The film is filled with what seemed to be every known French actress working during that time...Simone Signoret, Simone Simon, Danielle Darrieux. Full of sexual situations (obviously French -- a Hollywood film made in 1950 would NEVER have been this racy and open), so watch it with someone you love.
Super Reviewer
½ June 19, 2008
a lovely dance where partners are constantly changing. i can't really imagine this as an american film, especially in 1950!
Super Reviewer
August 31, 2008
The blooming interactions of couples,romantic,idealistic,majestic.Fragmentary affairs,juxtapositions in lifelong particles.The question is,do we really accept those 6 degrees of separation or the carousel will embrace us all.
½ October 22, 2015
Couldn't care about any of the characters, none of the stories stood out much. The movie might have been cutting edge back in its day, but now mostly appears creaky. Apparently nothing bores me more than French aristocracy, most of the movies dealing with characters from the French upper classes bores me to tears.
December 1, 2012
Sexy, witty, endearing-- I've wanting to see this feelm for decades and wasn't disappointed. A bit uncomfy watching it with the in-laws, though as it's pretty much sex, sex, sex. I heart Anton Walbrook so.
July 19, 2011
Sophisticated, beautiful and elegant. I read quite a bit more about the film and I was surprised by how much I missed. The structure of the film is not by any means linear but circular, meaning that it's going to end where it started. The characters are across all levels of society and they all have sexual encounters in pairs which are shown either before or after. Essentially, the film is about how sexual contact transgresses boundaries of class.
December 7, 2009
This was my first foray into the works of director Max Ophüls.
I have to say LA RONDE reminds me a lot of the pre-code musicals directed by Ernst Lubitsch - but with less music. LA RONDE certainly has as lavish a look as Lubitsch's THE SMILING LIEUTENANT, which is always a plus. It also manages to prance around the subject of much sexual activity without actually showing anything at all. But the subject matter was hot enough for the film to be banned in the U.S. during it's initial release. It's really very tame by today's more graphic standards - so I think you will enjoy this more if you compare it to other films of it's time period.

The characters (portrayed by literally a who's who in classic French cinema) in the film are shown each in turn involved in moments of sexual encounters. It begins with a prostitute (Simone Signore) offering a "freebie" to a soldier (Serge Reggiani). The soldier in turn is involved with a maid (Simone Simon - yummy). The maid has a fling with her master's son (Daniel Gélin)...then the son with a older married woman (Danielle Darrieux)...and so on and so forth until it comes around full circle back again to the prostitute as per implied by the title.

There is an all-knowing narrator (Alton Walbrrok) who also appears in various guises throughout the story. One particular moment showed Walbrook censoring out a love scene with a pair of scissors - which cracked me up.

The film is beautifully photographed, as I mentioned above - and I have encountered this type of circular narrative format before, I'm sure...but cannot place it. Probably Roger Vadim's CIRCLE OF LOVE...but it's really been awhile since I've seen that. I know I've seen one porno which used the same storytelling technique. At least there is a porno director emulating Max Ophüls, heh!!!

½ September 25, 2009
A light, funny, sexy romance/comedy with a clever plot device. The film has many intriguing facets... not just the symmetries, but also the asymmetries. Ophuls is working with what appears to be a formal structure, but doesn't mind bending the rules once in a while. It's interesting to see how each person functions in two different relationships, themselves always being consistent in character but placed in a different context. And I hardly need to mention that the photography is fantastic.
February 5, 2009
while it's beautiful and exquisite, it's fluffy to the point of being pretty boring. I actually turned on the commentary for the last third, and that made the movie much more interesting. the camerawork, sets, constumes and even acting are all wonderful - ophuls truly was one of the best at directing that stuff - but the movie just wasn't that interesting from an entertainment perspective.
November 15, 2008
Fascinating story, with a wonderful cast. Director Max Ophuls does a remarkable job directing, excellent writing. Great art direction and costumes. Top quality production.
½ January 2, 2005
(VHS) (First Viewing, 3rd Ophüls film)

Max Ophüls's LA RONDE is carried by its stunning visual style, but can never overcome its basic inconsequentiality. In a clever gimmick, Anton Walbrook serves as the "raconteur" (narrator/storyteller), addressing the camera directly as he guides the viewer through a series of romantic encounters and offers occasional aid to various characters as they scurry from one love affair to the next as they rush to complete the amorous circle referenced in the title.

While undeniably sumptuous and romantic in a decadent post-war French way, LA RONDE fails because it never allows any of its individual vignettes room to achieve any kind of emotional resonance- each scene feels more amusing than enlightening, and the characters are reduced to little more than well-dressed puppets (Danielle Darrieux is the main exception, crafting a complex portrait of an unrepentant adulterer is just several minutes time). The cyclical structure, which allows the film to glide by so smoothly, ultimately hinders any kind of emotional attachment.

But the reason to watch the film is to witness one of cinema's premiere stylists indulge in exceedingly elegant mise-en-scéne- each individual frame of LA RONDE is a feast of visual detail, enhanced by unexpected camera angles and movement. Perhaps no other screen artist has ever been able to match Ophüls's ability to create worlds that are so exquisitely artificial, and the camera revels in it.

For the perfect melding of Ophüls's visual style with a romantic story, check out LETTERS FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN (1948). Next to it, LA RONDE seems very minor indeed.
½ May 22, 2016
A charming movie. However, I had a hard time thinking they were in Vienna with them speaking French the whole time.
February 5, 2016
This is a souffle, i.e. delicious when you do not want either a beefsteak or a hot curry. When first released, it was a handsome showcase for the current stars of French cinema, from Darrieux and Signoret to the inevitable Daniel Gelin. The secret ingredient is however syphilis, or whatever germ is passed from the first to the last person in the ring: equally tactfully omitted from both Schnitzler's stage play (as everyone understood a century ago, which is why it took so long for the play to get staged) and today in Wikipedia.
½ October 22, 2015
Couldn't care about any of the characters, none of the stories stood out much. The movie might have been cutting edge back in its day, but now mostly appears creaky. Apparently nothing bores me more than French aristocracy, most of the movies dealing with characters from the French upper classes bores me to tears.
September 27, 2012
Whimsy. Sexy. Whimsy. I think that pretty much sums this film up.
December 15, 2013
Ophuls, in his French debut, brings to the screen an Arthur Schnitzler story about interlocking love affairs in 19th century Vienna. Though the storyline may seem like a soap opera, it is in fact a delightful, poetic and witty examination about love, which surprises the viewer for its daring nature and Ophuls' own visionary talent, particularly with the metaphor of a merry-go-round and a raconteur that introduces the story in a fable like manner, sublimely interpreted by Walbrook.
December 5, 2013
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
March 30, 2013
Interesting exercise in style. Shockingly sexually overt for 1950.
January 26, 2013
Describes different types of love and lust in an engaging, appealing way.
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