Mayerling


2h 20m 1969

Brief Synopsis

True story of Austria's Crown Prince Rudolph and his tragic love for a commoner.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Historical
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1969
Premiere Information
New York opening: 13 Feb 1969
Production Company
Les Films Corona; Winchester Film Productions
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
France
Location
Vienna, Austria
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Mayerling by Claude Anet (Paris, 1931) and the novel The Archduke by Michael Arnold (New York, 1967).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 20m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

In Vienna in 1888, Crown Prince Rudolf, the heir apparent to the Hapsburg Empire, is frustrated by both his political and domestic life. Sympathetic to the cause of the progressives pressing for a more democratic government, as well as for the independence of Hungary, he defies his father, the Emperor Franz Josef, by participating in student demonstrations. Furthermore, the failure of Rudolf's politically arranged marriage to the Crown Princess Stephanie of Belgium has driven him to morphine and public debauchery, highlighted by his flagrant affair with a somewhat infamous actress named Mizzi Kaspar. Then one day he meets the beautiful, 17-year-old Baroness Maria Vetsera, whose nouveau riche family is not accepted at court. Shortly after his mother, the Empress Elizabeth, returns from abroad--with Edward, the Prince of Wales, in tow--Rudolf persuades his cousin, Countess Larisch, to arrange a clandestine meeting between him and Maria. Surprised at finding himself in love, Rudolf makes no secret of his feelings, and the affair quickly creates a court scandal. Franz Josef sends Rudolf on a tour of inspection, and Maria is virtually banished to Venice, whereupon Rudolf counters by first appealing to the Vatican for an annulment of his marriage and then seeking sanctuary for him and Maria in France. When both requests are denied, the Empress advises her son to take Maria to Mayerling, the royal hunting lodge secluded in the Vienna woods. While they are there, word arrives that the Hungarian uprising has been suppressed and Rudolf's complicity in it has been discovered by his father. Realizing that any chance for happiness has been destroyed, the lovers form a suicide pact. And, at dawn, on January 30, 1889, Rudolf takes a revolver, shoots the sleeping Maria, and then turns the gun on himself.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Historical
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1969
Premiere Information
New York opening: 13 Feb 1969
Production Company
Les Films Corona; Winchester Film Productions
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
France
Location
Vienna, Austria
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Mayerling by Claude Anet (Paris, 1931) and the novel The Archduke by Michael Arnold (New York, 1967).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 20m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Mayerling (1968)


Mayerling (1968) is a lavishly designed and photographed costume drama, a genre that enjoyed a brief resurgence in the 1960s, in the wake of David Lean's Doctor Zhivago (1965). Omar Sharif - who also played the title character in Lean's picture - stars in Mayerling as Rudolph, the Crown Prince of Hapsburg. The film was inspired by the mysterious circumstances surrounding the deaths of the real Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria and a beautiful young woman in 1888.

Director Terence Young spins a romantic tale based on Rudolph's doomed relationship with Baroness Maria Vetsera (Catherine Deneuve). Rudolph yearns for Maria, but he's been forced by his overpowering father, Emperor Franz Josef (James Mason), into a loveless marriage with Crown Princess Stephanie (Andrea Parisy). Stephanie's sour personality drives Rudolph to an affair with a young actress (Fabienne Dali), as well as to a dalliance with morphine.

When Maria is sent to Venice to discourage the possibility of an illicit romance, Rudolph is encouraged by his sympathetic mother, Empress Elizabeth (Ava Gardner), to bring her back. Unfortunately, Rudolph's involvement in a failed Hungarian political uprising is suddenly revealed, much to the dissatisfaction of his father. With their future together looking bleak, Rudolph and Maria decide to seal their fate with a final, irrevocable act.

At the time of its release, critics agreed that the best performances in Mayerling were delivered by the old pros, Ava Gardner and James Mason, although many people complained that Gardner was too young to play Sharif's mother. Gardner was 45 when she accepted the role of the 60-year-old Empress Elizabeth. However, the actual Empress was famously youthful-looking, so Gardner fit the role better than most people realized. (A few years later, in the blockbuster, Earthquake, 1974, Gardner portrayed Lorne Greene's petulant daughter while being [and looking] a mere seven years younger than Greene. Even the studio's publicity department couldn't explain that one.)

Mayerling was originally planned for the husband-and-wife team of Mel Ferrer and Audrey Hepburn, both of whom participated in a disastrous televised version of the story in 1957. Hepburn received rave reviews for her work in Young's cult thriller, Wait Until Dark (1967), so she was upset when Sharif and Deneuve were cast. But it may have been for the best. By the time filming commenced on Mayerling, Ferrer and Hepburn were preparing to divorce.

Producer: Robert Dorfmann
Director: Terence Young
Screenplay: Terence Young, Dennis Cannan, Joseph Kessel
Editor: Monique Bonnot
Cinematographer: Henri Alekan
Music: Francis Lai
Production Designer: Georges Wakhevitch
Art Director: Maurice Colasson, Tony Roman
Costumes: Marcel Escoffier
Principal Cast: Omar Sharif (Crown Prince Rudolph), Catherine Deneuve (Baroness Maria Vetsera), James Mason (Emperor Franz Josef), Ava Gardner (Empress Elizabeth), James Robertson Justice (Edward, Prince of Wales), Genevieve Page (Countess Larisch), Fabienne Dali (Mizzi Kaspar), Maurice Teynac (Mortiz Szeps).
C-128m. Letterboxed.

by Paul Tatara
Mayerling (1968)

Mayerling (1968)

Mayerling (1968) is a lavishly designed and photographed costume drama, a genre that enjoyed a brief resurgence in the 1960s, in the wake of David Lean's Doctor Zhivago (1965). Omar Sharif - who also played the title character in Lean's picture - stars in Mayerling as Rudolph, the Crown Prince of Hapsburg. The film was inspired by the mysterious circumstances surrounding the deaths of the real Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria and a beautiful young woman in 1888. Director Terence Young spins a romantic tale based on Rudolph's doomed relationship with Baroness Maria Vetsera (Catherine Deneuve). Rudolph yearns for Maria, but he's been forced by his overpowering father, Emperor Franz Josef (James Mason), into a loveless marriage with Crown Princess Stephanie (Andrea Parisy). Stephanie's sour personality drives Rudolph to an affair with a young actress (Fabienne Dali), as well as to a dalliance with morphine. When Maria is sent to Venice to discourage the possibility of an illicit romance, Rudolph is encouraged by his sympathetic mother, Empress Elizabeth (Ava Gardner), to bring her back. Unfortunately, Rudolph's involvement in a failed Hungarian political uprising is suddenly revealed, much to the dissatisfaction of his father. With their future together looking bleak, Rudolph and Maria decide to seal their fate with a final, irrevocable act. At the time of its release, critics agreed that the best performances in Mayerling were delivered by the old pros, Ava Gardner and James Mason, although many people complained that Gardner was too young to play Sharif's mother. Gardner was 45 when she accepted the role of the 60-year-old Empress Elizabeth. However, the actual Empress was famously youthful-looking, so Gardner fit the role better than most people realized. (A few years later, in the blockbuster, Earthquake, 1974, Gardner portrayed Lorne Greene's petulant daughter while being [and looking] a mere seven years younger than Greene. Even the studio's publicity department couldn't explain that one.) Mayerling was originally planned for the husband-and-wife team of Mel Ferrer and Audrey Hepburn, both of whom participated in a disastrous televised version of the story in 1957. Hepburn received rave reviews for her work in Young's cult thriller, Wait Until Dark (1967), so she was upset when Sharif and Deneuve were cast. But it may have been for the best. By the time filming commenced on Mayerling, Ferrer and Hepburn were preparing to divorce. Producer: Robert Dorfmann Director: Terence Young Screenplay: Terence Young, Dennis Cannan, Joseph Kessel Editor: Monique Bonnot Cinematographer: Henri Alekan Music: Francis Lai Production Designer: Georges Wakhevitch Art Director: Maurice Colasson, Tony Roman Costumes: Marcel Escoffier Principal Cast: Omar Sharif (Crown Prince Rudolph), Catherine Deneuve (Baroness Maria Vetsera), James Mason (Emperor Franz Josef), Ava Gardner (Empress Elizabeth), James Robertson Justice (Edward, Prince of Wales), Genevieve Page (Countess Larisch), Fabienne Dali (Mizzi Kaspar), Maurice Teynac (Mortiz Szeps). C-128m. Letterboxed. by Paul Tatara

Quotes

Trivia

Originally planned as a starring vehicle for the husband-and-wife team of 'Ferrer, Mel' and Audrey Hepburn, who had performed Mayerling for TV in 1957.

Notes

Released in Great Britain in 1968; opened in Paris in December 1968; location scenes filmed in Austria. Remake of the 1936 French film of the same title, released in the United States by Pax Films.

Miscellaneous Notes

The Country of France

Released in United States Winter December 13, 1968

Wide Release in United States February 13, 1969

Shot in English and French simultaneously without dubbing.

Released in United States Winter December 13, 1968

Wide Release in United States February 13, 1969