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In turn-of-the-century Vienna, a young officer (Wolfgang Liebeneiner) and the daughter of a violinist (Magda Schneider, mother of Romy) fall in love and seem to be destined for happiness. Then, a duel over a married woman puts the lovers in jeopardy. Adapted from the play by Arthur Schnitzler (La Ronde), director Max Ophüls' last German film before exile is a romantic excursion into desire's unexpected detours. The young director's first success shows that, from the start, he reveled in the way music and the moving camera could celebrate the birth and demise of love. Print courtesy of Academy Film Archive.
“Late in 1951, I was already attending screenings at the 30-odd seats Cinémathèque Française on the Avenue de Messine. It was there, as an early established Stendhalian, that my senses and my heart were taken by Max Ophüls’ Liebelei.”—Pierre Rissient