La Ronde

La Ronde



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La Ronde Reviews

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Cindy I

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

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.
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.
January 26, 2013
Describes different types of love and lust in an engaging, appealing way.
October 8, 2012
Sixty years later it is hard not to think of VD when watching La Ronde and that's a shame. Ophuls' puckish wink at sexual mores in 1900 Vienna deserves to be the light-hearted ride on the merry-go-round it was designed to be. Anton Walbrook is our guide, exercising a magical influence on events, as we follow the romantic urge from person to person around the circle (and along the many tracking shots, an Ophuls trademark). A few Freudian slips are left dangling and on more than one occasion the carousel breaks down. Fortunately, not for long. A wonderful exercise in style, but Ophuls would later top this one...
July 5, 2012
Max Ophuls' most playful film. More eye-popping than "Madame De...", but not necessarily better. An outstanding achievement for French cinema. Max Ophuls know the camera inside out. It was said in an interview with his son (Ophuls) that he only had 2 days for each act, which I find very surprising since each shot is done with such care and such precision with the camera (as usual with Ophuls) that I wouldn't ever expect such a short time period to shoot each scene, especially with such long shots. Simply a great film, that affects me very personally. Also the merry-go-round is genius, and a beautiful narrative set piece.
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.
The -Stick
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!!!

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.
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.
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