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The Emperor Waltz

The Emperor Waltz(1948)

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Although official Paramount billing gives this film's running time as 103 min., contemporary and modern sources also list it as 105 or 106 min. The film's working title was Viennese Story. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, editor Doane Harrison took over direction for a few days while Billy Wilder underwent minor surgery. Hollywood Reporter reported that the film cost over four million dollars to make. Paramount News reported the following information about the production: Oscar Karlweis was initially chosen to play the role of the emperor, but was later replaced. The studio-constructed Emperor Island, where "Virgil" woos "Johanna," was made of earth, rock and trees and placed on a wooded platform and floated on oil drums in Leach Lake in Alberta, Canada's Jasper National Park, where some of the film was shot on location. The island was ceremoniously turned over to the Dominion of Canada before the film crew left, and was rebuilt in Paramount's Hollywood studios for additional scenes. The rowboat used by Crosby to row out to the island was a "plaette," an eighteen-foot gondola-like boat used on the lakes of the Austrian Tyrol in the early 1900s.
       According to a Paramount studio press release, use of all-black dogs in the film was innovative because heretofore black objects appeared too dark when filmed in Technicolor; the dogs were adorned with ribbons and were powdered before each shot. As reported in Liberty magazine, the film's dog stars, "Scheherezade" and "Buttons," were owned by the Weatherwax brothers of Hollywood, who also owned the famous motion picture collie "Lassie." Bing Crosby's Beverly Hills tennis court was used for the film's tennis scenes. Eleanor Tennant, who appeared as a tennis player, was a Beverly Hills Tennis Club pro, and supervised the tennis scenes. Paramount publicized the film as Bing Crosby's first love story (although he had appeared in a number of "love" stories prior to this) and Brackett and Wilder's first musical. Joan Fontaine was borrowed from RKO Studios to appear in the picture. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design (color), Edith Head and Gile Steele; and for Best Music (scoring a musical picture), Victor Young.