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La Ronde
La Ronde
Actors: Simone Signoret, Anton Walbrook, Simone Simon, Gérard Philipe
Director: Max Ophuls
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
UR     2008     1hr 33min

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, chambermaid...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Simone Signoret, Anton Walbrook, Simone Simon, Gérard Philipe
Director: Max Ophuls
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Love & Romance
Studio: Criterion Collection
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/16/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/1950
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1950
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

A French Lesson in Infidelity.
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 06/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It was a happy day when I first heard Criterion was finally releasing Max Ophüls' two great films, La Ronde and Earrings of Madame De. Ophüls is known for his brilliant tracking shots and elaborate camera movements (which influenced Stanley Kubrick). He is also known for his black-and-white French bedroom farce, La Ronde (1950), starring Anton Walbrook, Simone Signoret, and Gérard Philipe, based on Arthur Schnitzler's controversial 1897 play, Reigen. (Adolf Hitler considered Schnitzler's play obscene for its depiction of the sexual morals and class ideology of its day. Schnitzler, a doctor, recognized that syphilis was not limited to certain layers of Viennese society.) La Ronde ("The Roundabout") follows a series of stories about love affairs that end with one of the partners forming a new sexual liaison with another person. A soldier (Serge Reggiani) first meets a prostitute (Simone Signoret) and then has an affair with a young parlor maid, who then has sex with the young man of the house, who in turn has sex with a young wife, who then has sex with her husband, and so on until the film completes its circle with a Count (Gérard Philipe) having sex with the same prostitute. La Ronde is technically brilliant, the cinematography sparkles, and this is truly great cinema. Roger Ebert calls Ophüls' films "one of the great pleasures of the cinema."

The Criterion edition features a newly restored high-definition digital transfer; audio commentary featuring film scholar Susan White, author of The Cinema of Max Ophuls; an interview with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Marcel Ophuls, discussing his father's work; an interview with actor Daniel Gélin (Napoléon, Testament of Orpheus); an 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 subtitle translation; and a new essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty.

G. Merritt"
A feast for the eyes
David Juneau | USA | 04/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

""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......"
A movie once seen you'll never forget it
Bomojaz | South Central PA, USA | 01/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

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.]"
Still entrancing over 50 years later
Bomojaz | 12/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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."