The gorgeous duo of Charles Boyer and Danielle Darrieux first appeared on-screen together almost twenty years before The Earrings of Madame de . . . , in this sumptuous tragic romance from Anatole Litvak (The Snake Pit, An... more »astasia). Mayerling is the profoundly emotional true story of the doomed adulterous affair between Archduke Rudolph, heir to the Austrian throne, and the young and innocent baron's daughter Marie Vetsera.« less
albertatamazon | East Point, Georgia USA | 05/13/1999
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Watching this video, or, more accurately, trying to watch it, has to be one of the worst disappointments I've ever encountered on home video. The performances, photography, writing, and direction are absolutely first class. But the manufacturers of the video should be ashamed of themselves for releasing the film in this condition--the soundtrack (at least on this print) has deteriorated horrendously---it has the worst sound of any 1930's movie I have ever seen.Entire syllables are inaudible; the sound fades in and out like a bad shortwave radio connection. The bad quality of the sound has to be heard to be believed, and what's even worse, the music track seems relatively unaffected-only the dialogue suffers. The box proudly proclaims that the subtitles in this French film have been digitally improved. One wonders why they didn't pay more attention to the sound. I hope that there are better prints of this 1936 "Mayerling" (long unseen on television-especially since the 1968 English-language remake) still around. If not, and if that is one of the reasons it hasn't turned up on TV, then it is one of the great tragedies of film preservation."
A TRAGIC ROMANCE SET IN AUSTRIA.
scotsladdie | 05/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the greatest love stories ever to grace the screen, a bittersweet and poignant romance between a star-crossed Austrian Prince and his adoring mistress. MAYERLING is a touching masterpiece; a poetically tragic romance, the kind of which seem obsolete in movies anymore. Only Boyer could have played the doomed Rudolph so expertly and with such incisive understanding: he becomes the part and gives a majestic portrayal. Darrieux is tender and electric as the sad young woman who chooses death to be with the man she loves. The success of the film lies in its manner, not its matter. There have been many recognition-scenes, such as the one at the ballet where Danielle Darrieux as Marie Vetsera becomes aware that the prince in the royal box is indeed the young man of yesterday's carnival! It was a compliment on Miss Darrieux's acting to remember more scenes involving her than anyone else; her American debut was certainly promising. This in no way detracted from Boyer's brilliant performance as the temptestuous Rudolph which, it suffices to say, is a finished job. The completely excellent cast included Suzy Prim (!)as the comic Countess Larisch, Jean Dax as the glazed-eyed Emperor, Marthe Regnier as the conventional and unsuspecting mother and Debucourt as the implacable spy-director. Directed beautifully by Anatole Litvak."
A great movie, But an AWFUL transfer
R Atherton | Frostbite Falls, MN | 07/27/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Mayerling doesn't deserve this treatment. Boyer (who I'm not a big fan of) is in his element as the domineering, passionate prince. Darrieux is exquisite as his lover. And the director Litvak does a stunning creative job of placing the camera just so, whether at an intimate beergarden or the royal opera. But...the transfer to this VHS tape is awful. Long sections are out of focus, the whole film is muddy and scratched, and half of the subtitles are below the screen. A great film, but please do not buy the wretched copy offered here."
The Sound track on this film is simply awful.
Prometheus | USA | 06/02/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Sound track on this film is simply awful! I can't understand it. Every aspect of it is superior to the other version that is available except the sound track. The sound levels are all over the place from moment to moment. Whole chunks of dialogue are missing as Boyer's voice disappears for brief moments. This is a great and outrageous distraction. This more expensive version sounds as if it was recorded in a tin cup. I saw the other version, the $12.99 version, and don't remember its sound track being as bad as it is here. The things that bother me about that version were the poor picture quality and the badly placed, frequently off the screen, subtitles. This version is better in those qualities in every way, but the sound track is awful. Other than the bad sound track, this is a well-acted and superior historical romance with a tragic ending."
The Criterion disc is the one to get
ymmv | Amsterdam | 10/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mayerling has been released a number of times by crummy companies specializing in PD movies. That's why the AV quality has always been awful. The recent rerelease by Criterion in 2009 is an official one and this the quality is great. So buy that one. If you see bad reviews, the buyer got one of the substandard prints of this movie."