La Ronde [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [French] [1950]

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Special Features

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


La Ronde
An exercise in style, La Ronde was one of the few films of the 1950s to contain overtly sexual themes. The story is a series of character vignettes, set in Vienna in the early 1900s and held together by a narrator (Anton Walbrook). As the title implies, both the story and the film's visual motifs are circular. Director Max Ophuls uses an old-fashioned merry-go-round to foreshadow the film's events, in which each segment introduces a new character, who has an affair with a character from the previous scene. The film demands that the audience pay attention to the structure, to the interplay among the characters, and to the opulent visual elements; and the effect is synergistic delight, in which the viewer is engaged both visually and intellectually. Because it was filmed in black-and-white, La Ronde does not have the garish look of some of Ophuls' other films, notably Lola Montès. La Ronde is among the few foreign language films to receive multiple Oscar nominations, for Black & White Art Direction and Best Adapted Screenplay. ~ Richard Gilliam, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Anton Walbrook
    Anton Walbrook - The Master of Ceremonies
  • Simone Signoret
    Simone Signoret - Leocadie, the Prostitute
  • Serge Reggiani
    Serge Reggiani - Franz, the Soldier
  • Simone Simon
    Simone Simon - Marie, the Maid
  • Daniel Gélin
    Daniel Gélin - Alfred

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