|With Omar Sharif.|
Released in 1968, Mayerling was already the twenty-five year old Deneuve's twenty-fourth film. The plot was based on a true incident: the double suicide in 1889 of the married Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary and his young mistress; Mayerling is the name of the hunting lodge where the tragedy occurred. Deneuve plays the unworldly, romantic Baroness Marie Vetsera, and her costar is Omar Sharif as the extremely troubled Archduke Rudolf. A still-dazzlingly beautiful Ava Gardner plays his every bit as troubled mother, the still-dazzlingly beautiful Empress Elisabeth, while James Mason impersonates the rigid and clueless Emperor Franz Joseph. Written and directed by Terence Young, lavishly produced, it's rather slow and a bit squishy; it's no great work of cinema, though I was quite taken with the film when I first encountered it, as a teenager. And, if I remember correctly, they don't completely bungle the history. From me, that's quite a bit more of a compliment than it might appear to be.
|Ava Gardner as the Empress Elisabeth, and James Mason as the Emperor Franz Joseph.|
|The final scene is actually quite moving....|