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La Ronde (1950)

Simone Signoret , Anton Walbrook , Max Ophuls  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Simone Signoret, Anton Walbrook, Simone Simon, Gérard Philipe
  • Directors: Max Ophuls
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Black & White, Dolby, Full Screen, HiFi Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: September 16, 2008
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BEK8BK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,803 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "La Ronde" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Audio commentary featuring film scholar Susan White, author of "The Cinema of Max Ophuls"
  • Interview with Max Ophuls's sone, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Marcel Ophuls
  • Interview with actor Daniel Gelin
  • Interview with film scholar Alan Williams
  • Correspondence between Sir Laurence Olivier and Heinrich Shnitsler (the playwright's son), illustrating the controversy surrounding the source play
  • A new essay by folm critic Terrence Rafferty

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Simone Signoret, Anton Walbrook, and Simone Simon lead a roundelay of French stars in Max Ophuls's delightful, acerbic adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler's controversial turn-of-thecentury play La ronde. Soldiers, chambermaids, poets, and aristocrats, all are on equal footing in this multicharacter merry-go-round of love and infidelity, directed with a sweeping gaiety as knowingly frivolous as it is enchanting and shot with Ophuls's trademark intricate cinematography. SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES: New, restored high-definition digital transfer, Audio commentary featuring film scholar Susan White, author of The Cinema of Max Ophuls, Interview with Max Ophuls's son, the Academy Award winning filmmaker Marcel Ophuls
Interview with actor Daniel Gelin (Napoleon, Testament of Orpheus)
Interview with film scholar Alan Williams, Selected correspondence between Sir Laurence Olivier and Heinrich Schnitzler (the playwright's son), illustrating the controversy surrounding the source play
New and improved English subtitle translation. PLUS: A new essay by film critic Terrence Raffert

Review

Superb, stylized comedy. --Halliwell's

Dazzling technical virtuosity and cinematic elegance. --Chicago Reader

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast for the eyes April 2, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
"La Ronde" succeeds on many levels. The screenplay, adapted from the play by Arthur Schnitzler, is witty and provocative. It has a lightness of touch and delicate irony that is peculiar to the French. The performances are excellent-especially Danielle Darrieux's portrayal of an adulterous wife. However, the real distinction of this movie is it's visual style. The black and white cinematography is anything but flat. There are layers and textures in this film that are a feast for the eyes. The sumptuous set decorations are beautifully ornate-almost baroque. "La Ronde" is replete with camera angles reminiscent of "Citizen Kane." There is a fantastic overhead shot of a young courtesan whose head is in the center of hanging light fixture-or chandelier. This aspect is that of a poet who is idealizing her. It is an absolutely brilliant moment. Ophuls has a wonderful sense of movement. The long tracking shots and circular motion complement, instead of detract from, the action and emotion of the story. Particularly dazzling are the carousel scenes where circles run counter to one another. One might say that the omnipresent narrator is rather intrusive, but he grows on you. He's French, after all......
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie once seen you'll never forget it January 11, 2006
By Bomojaz
Format:VHS Tape
A classic "round" of vignettes, each about love, each vignette blending into the next by means of a single character, like passing a baton in a foot race, until we're back at the beginning again. It begins with a young prostitute (played by Simone Signoret) meeting a soldier (Serge Reggiani) and ends, after about six vignettes, with a different soldier (Gerard Philipe) paying a visit to Signoret. All of it is held together by a raconteur, played superbly with just the right amount of sardonic wit by Anton Walbrook, who steals the picture.

Max Ophuls's production is very stylized, with rococo turn-of-the-century sets. It's light and witty, but insightful, too, with the emphasis on the fleeting aspects of love and the vanity and double standards held to by the male of the species. The movie has everything going for it: a brilliant idea, a wonderful script, great acting, and terrific camerawork. Movie-making at its finest. [It was banned in America for four years on obscenity charges: the women enjoy their illicit love affairs a little too much for the censors' tastes at the time. Finally they came to their senses - the censors, I mean.]
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still entrancing over 50 years later December 15, 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
My high school French teacher took the whole class to see this picture and I found it charming and fell in love with Danielle Darrieux. I enjoyed it even more a half century later, I was impressed with the excellent picture quality. All the actors spoke beautiful French,clear enough to make it an excellent teaching lesson. I admire the courage of my French teacher given some controversy at the time. The music in the VCR soundtrack seems rather poorly preserved, perhaps a DVD recording at some time could help improve the music quality.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Alltime Favorite On DVD At Last. October 11, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This 1950 film was considered quite scandalous in its day especially in America. The essential premise of characters having sex without marriage shocked conservative moviegoers even though it was done with wit and style and doesn't show you anything improper. It was based on an 1897 play by Viennese doctor turned playwright Arthur Schnitzler called REIGEN which created even more of an uproar back then. Adolf Hitler considered it absolute filth.

I first saw this film back during my college days and dreamed of playing on stage the narrator who is interactive throughout the story. Imagine my surprise when I obtained an English copy of the play and discovered there was no narrator in it! The filmmaker had created the character to enhance the film and indeed he does. As played by Anton Walbrook (the impresario of THE RED SHOES), he is the epitome of Old World grace and charm and has the best lines as well. No wonder as he is supposed to be the alter ego of the director himself.

The title REIGEN (ring or circular movement) refers to the nature of the play where one character has sex with another who then has sex with someone else and so on until, coming full circle, it ends with a final character having sex with the first one. All of the encounters take place off camera and there are even amusing attempts by the narrator (who introduces each character) to occasionally censor the action. The symbol of this "circle of love" which occurs throughout the film is a carousel or merry-go-round.

The film was made by Max Ophuls, a German filmmaker who wound up in France by way of the United States. His films are famous for his continually moving camera and interesting visual compositions. He was reportedly Stanley Kubrick's favorite director.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars La Ronde is an absolute delight. October 16, 2009
By Grant
Format:DVD
LA RONDE (1950) Starring Anton Wallbrook, Simone Signoret, Simone Simon (from Cat People) Fernand Gravey and Danielle Darrieux. Directed by Max Ophuls.

Well, this was quite the film. There is much here to enjoy. Beautiful, poetic, witty dialogue. Breaking down of the fourth wall. Strong female characters that revel in their sexuality and the power it has over the men in their lives. Scenes of passion that build slowly, almost in a suspenseful manner. Lots of thoughts by the characters about the nature of love and casual sex, marriage, infidelity, and even women who, while not using the "contemporary term" indulging in a "friends with benefits" situation with other men. This is definitely a dialogue driven film, but it is beautifully delicious, witty, thoughtful and passionate dialogue.

The film starts with our mysterious puppet master/raconteur played by Anton Wallbrook. His entrance is terrific. Walking the foggy streets of Vienna, he engages the audience immediately by asking us what part he plays:

"What part do I play in this story? Author? Accomplice? Passer by?" As he soon reveals..."I am you...I am the personification of your desire to know everything"

His clothes are contemporary, but he slowly starts to change his clothes to become more "period friendly". As he starts to blend in to his surroundings in almost a chameleon like fashion (which he does periodically throughout the film) he asks the audience...

"But just where are we? On a stage? A film set? One doesn't know any more."

It's dialogue like this that slowly transports us to an almost magical place that seems both real, and not real. This gives the film a wonderful element of fantasy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars La Ronde did not act as advertised
The movie broke and tore halfway through and then stopped running.
I'm supposed to get a refund to my credit card but I haven't seen it yet.
Published 4 months ago by Jack A. Schaeffer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Film/Poor English Translation
It seemed to take forever for this classic film to make it to DVD. I hope we don't have to wait as long for it to make it to blu-ray! Read more
Published 19 months ago by Anovus
4.0 out of 5 stars Charm and Elegance Galore in 1903 Vienna
"La Ronde," ("The Merry-Go-Round"), (1950) is a steamy little French film masterpiece in black and white, telling a convoluted tale of interlocking sexual relationships, as on a... Read more
Published on June 9, 2011 by Stephanie De Pue
4.0 out of 5 stars La Ronde
This is a movie I saw once a long time ago, and wanted to buy it then; it was unavailable at first, but finally, Amazon had it listed. Read more
Published on May 19, 2010 by B. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Cynical but realistic depiction of love/sex
This is an immensely cynical movie that looks at sexual liasons through a very jaundiced eye. The idea is simple. Read more
Published on January 31, 2010 by Alan A. Elsner
4.0 out of 5 stars Not very deep but enjoyable enough
The Bottom Line:

La Ronde consists of a series of romantic vignettes that tell a short story about love before moving on to the next set of characters; the... Read more
Published on November 1, 2009 by One-Line Film Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars classic french film
Very interesting production of a play originally banned in Europe. The commentary is equally interesting. The language is cultured French vs. Read more
Published on March 13, 2009 by John Friel
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Schnitzler
I am a devotee of films and something of a Schnitzler scholar. This film represents a major nexus of my interests. Read more
Published on February 14, 2009 by John D. Steyers
5.0 out of 5 stars A confection of naughtiness
A chocolate confection of a movie.

Set in Vienna circa 1900, based on a play by Viennese playwrite Arthur Schnitzler, it's a series of vignettes more about lust than... Read more
Published on October 31, 2008 by J. A. Eyon
4.0 out of 5 stars What goes around comes around
Having seen the movie when it was first released, I was thrilled to find it available as a DVD. It is elegant, witty, but a little passe: Movies have come a long way since in... Read more
Published on October 21, 2008 by Anne-Marie Byrnes
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