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  •  DER KONGRESS TANZT (The Happy Congress), by Erik Charell - 1931


 Country : Allemagne

 Medium : Black and white

 Duration : 86'

 Video : René Chateau Vidéo - 1995

 Production : Erich Pommer / UFA / Alliance Cinématographique Européenne

 Scenario : Norbert Falk and Robert Liebmann

 Screenplay : Jean Boyer

 Music : Werner R. Heymann

 Director of photography : Karl Hoffmann

 Plot : In Vienna in 1814, at the time when Napoleon was being held on the island of Elba, the Princes of Europe decided to meet to decide what to do with France and to divide up what remained of the Empire. Thus whilst Prince Metternich pulled the diplomatic strings and Talleyrand plotted with those who used to be his enemies, the city of Vienna lived the gay life and danced away the bitter memories of the recent bloody slaughters. As for the Tsar of Russia, he disliked politics, preferring to court a young glove-maker. All this allowed Napoleon to return to French soil...

 Cast : Lilian Harvey (Christel A. Reizinger) ; Henry Garat (Tsar Alexander Ist and Uralsky); Gaby Morlay (Désirée Clary) ; Armand Bernard (Bibikoff) ; Pierre Magnier (Metternich) ; Robert Arnoux (Pepi) ; Jean Dax (Talleyrand) Lil Dagover (the Countess) ; Odette Talazac (the Princess) ; Sinoël (the Minister of Finances) ; Olivier (the Mayor) ; Tarquini d'Or (the minstrel)

 Extract : « Talleyrand. - I have a great liking for the Tsar of Russia, very great indeed. I would willingly share his interpretation of the expression "political meetings" that is, if I were twenty years younger ! »

 Review : As often with German productions (and even more so with the U.F.A. studios), the scenery is extravagant and there is a cast of thousands. The film came out only two years after the great crisis of 1929 which so had weakened the country and seems extraordinarily opulent. The excellent duo Henry Garat-Lilian Harvey provide the main interest in this charming operetta, clearly designed to cheer up folk depressed by the harsh inter-war years. The staging creaks a little but Charell's technique is flawless (the camera shots are always effective). Of note is the bust of Napoleon by Canova which appears in the background in the Tsar's salon.



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