Mayerling (1936)





Mayerling Photos

Movie Info

Based on Idol's End, a novel by Claude Anet, the French Mayerling is based on the tragic real-life story of Hapsburg Crown Prince Rudolph and his mistress, Baroness Marie Vetsera. Since the details of Rudolph and Marie's lives and deaths are clouded in controversy, much of the film is romanticized speculation-with emphasis on the romance. The film establishes Rudolph (Charles Boyer) as a rebellious "man of the people", at eternal odds with his despotic father, Emperor Franz Joseph (Jean Dax). To keep him quiet and out of trouble, Rudolph is forced into an arranged marriage, and surrounded by Hapsburg informers and spies. In an effort to escape this oppressive atmosphere, a disguised Rudolph dashes off to a fair, where he meets the beauteous 17-year-old Marie (Danielle Darieux). Thus begins an illicit romance, which the lovers try vainly to keep secret from the prying eyes of the Emperor's flunkeys. One of Rudolph's enemies arranges for Marie to be taken away to Trieste for a "rest cure." Rudolph sinks into a drunken depression, snapping out of it only when Marie returns. They attempt to legitimize their love through marriage, but the Catholic hierarchy will not approve of Rudolph's divorcing his wife. Desperately, the lovers flee to Rudolph's hunting lodge in Mayerling. Here they spend an exquisite last night together, then formulate a death pact. The following day, Marie and Rudolph are found lying side by side-united in death. Transforming this grim story into a tender, moving romance was quite an undertaking, but the end result was worth it: Mayerling was a huge international hit, and the winner of several industry awards, including the New York film critics' "best foreign picture" prize. Mayerling was remade in surprisingly cold and distant fashion in 1968, with Omar Sharif and Catherine Deneuve. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Rating: PG13
Genre: Art House & International , Classics , Drama , Romance
Directed By: Terence Young , Anatole Litvak
Written By: Claude Anet , Michel Arnold , Terence Young , Joseph Kessel , Irma von Cube , Marcel Achard
In Theaters: wide


Charles Boyer
as Archduke Rudolph of Austria
Jean Dax
as Emperor Franz Joseph
Jean Debucourt
as Count Taafe
Marthe Regnier
as Baroness Vetsera [Helene]
Danielle Darrieux
as Marie Vetsera
Suzy Prim
as Countess Larisch
Vladimir Sokoloff
as Chief of Police
Andre Dubosc
as Loschek the Valet
Gabrielle Dorziat
as Empress Elizabeth
Yolande Laffron
as Stephanie
Gina Manès
as Marinka
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News & Interviews for Mayerling

Critic Reviews for Mayerling

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (2)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

July 22, 2005

No excerpt available.

January 5, 2004
Las Vegas Review-Journal

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | May 24, 2003

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Mayerling

The kid is doing a presentation on the ballet of this story, so we rented the movie. Ugh. Subtitles don't usually bother me, but subtitles + 1936 movie + grizzly tale = no thanks.

Lisa Whelpley
Lisa Whelpley

For Emperor Franz-Joseph(Jean Dax), the last straw is his son and heir Archduke Rudolf(Charles Boyer) being arrested in a police sweep of suspected radicals. Putting his foot down, he arranges for his son to get married. On his fifth wedding anniversary, Rudolf spends it not with his wife, but parties with his friends instead. Still, life is not all fun and games as he bemoans the lack of interesting women in Vienna to his friend Szeps(Rene Bergeron), a newspaper editor. And that's when Maria(Danielle Darrieux) walks into his life. As much fun as they have together that evening, she does not realize who he really is until she spots him in the royal box at the ballet a few days later. One one level, "Mayerling" is the type of very moving romance that they simply do not make anymore.(Plus or minus a random left breast, that is.) But of deeper interest is the fact that this is based on a true story whose fidelity includes historical and political details of the period, including that none of the characters bat an eyelash that Maria is only 17. In reading about this specific incident online, I was more than a little surprised that it is possible that it kicked off a chain of events that changed world history, thus reinforcing the notion that however sympathetic Rudolf's plight might be, his actions were also extremely selfish in ignoring his duty to his country and family. But let's be honest, nobody could have predicted these once future events and aren't empires supposed to last forever, anyway?

Walter M.
Walter M.

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