THE GREAT WALTZ (Julien Duvivier, Josef von Sternberg, Victor Fleming, 1938)

In the shadow of Germany’s annexation of Austria on March 15, 1938, Hollywood’s most radiant, rapturous musical biography appeared. Its ostensible subject: Johann Strauss II (Fernand Gravet, so-so); but at the outset the film admits that it aims for the “spirit” of the music and of Strauss rather than the “facts” of his life. Directors […]

THE AVIATOR’S WIFE (Eric Rohmer, 1981)

Launching his “Comedies and Proverbs” series, writer-director Eric Rohmer’s La femme de l’aviateur is another of his gems. An exquisite light comedy disclosing a depth of romantic anxiety, and hurt feelings alternately hidden and flashing, it revolves around a triangle—a woman, her former lover, her current sometime lover—that becomes another triangle, obliquely, when a girl […]