Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.
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Films and Filming: January 1956
Cast and credits as per the IMDb listing.
The opening title announces that Powell and Pressburger have brought Die Fledermaus up-to-date. Fortunately this does not include the music; and the wonderful score by Johann Strauss is there to distract the viewer from some of the more banal lines of Dennis Arundell's new lyrics.
The transformation has been accomplished with great skill. Instead of Old Vienna, it is Vienna shortly before the Four Powers depart. Eisenstein becomes a Colonel in the French army. His wife is Rosalinda. Her lover is an American captain. Orlofsky becomes a Russian party-giver on the hostess-with-the-mostess scale. Major Frank, in charge of the prison, is the British member of the quartet. Dr. Falke, the Bat, is represented as a Viennese with a liking for practical jokes and a desire that the Four Powers should not over-stay their welcome.
The original story falls neatly into this new mould. The Bat's revenge on Eisenstein is to compromise him with his wife, Rosalinda.
Instead of the last scene being in the prison, it takes place in the hotel gardens.
Visually, the film is most satisfying. Hein Heckroth has designed sets that borrow something from stage convention but which also frame the artists without restricting their movements across the whole Cinemascope screen.
There is none of the vitality of the Hollywood musical; but it does have gaiety, so rare in present day cinema.
Ludmilla Tcherina is enchanting - a kind of sexless [??] beauty. Mel Ferrer and Michael Redgrave have adapted themselves to this caprice with such verve, that it would be easy to believe that they had played in nothing else but musical comedy. Yet it is Anthony Quayle, as the gay Russian, who gives the best performance of this dazzling team.
Oh... Rosalinda!! proves that Britain can make good musical films. It deserves to be a success, then perhaps Powell and Pressburger (who also made the screen version of Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann) will make another musical - from a score by a British composer.
(Peter G. Baker, the editor)
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