Viennese Girls

Viennese Girls

Wiener Maedeln (Original Title)

Wiener Mädeln"" is the third part of Forst's informal 'Viennese Trilogy', and like the other films of the group (""Operette"" and ""Wiener Blut"") shows Forst's intention to celebrate the culture of Austria and especially its capital city at a time when the country was occupied by the Germans. While the film was made at the end of WWII, it was only released after the war and is thus sometimes seen as Austria's first colour film. But whether you regard this as a German or an Austrian film, the colours certainly aren't the film's only attraction.

Forst himself stars in the role of waltz and operetta composer Carl Michael Ziehrer, who not only has to overcome the dominant father figure of the famous Johann Strauss before he can make a career of his own, but also has to sort out his relationships with the Viennese girls of the title. There are four of them, all daughters of Court Counsellor Munk, but the film focusses on the love that Ziehrer feels for the oldest of them, Klara (Judith Holzmeister), a fascinating but capricious lady who lets him down, so that in the end he marries the younger Mitzi (Dora Komar). But Ziehrer cannot really forget Klara, and when they meet again at the World Fair in Christinia, where Ziehrer's Deutschmeister ensemble must win a musical contest against an American band, things seem to get out of hand...
Certainly ""Wiener Mädeln"" is a celebration of Austria, its music, and its women, and in this respect the film is more warm-hearted with less of the distanced, observing stance of ""Maskerade"". But Forst never even comes close to sugarbakery, while making an extremely beautiful and sensual film nevertheless. And it's fascinating how in the grand finale, basically dialogue-free, all the tensions are resolved by Ziehrer's music alone, and everyone - including the American band - breaks into an entranced whirl of song and dance to the film's title song.

Admin comments

This film is among Forst's most perfect. As usual, the director simply gets everything right in a seemingly effortless manner, creating a wonderfully 'musical' pacing, and Jan Stallich's cinematography and the magnificent costumes and sets do the rest. Gorgeous pastel colors in shots which often remind of paintings. Rarely does Agfacolor look more glorious.

But the script and the performances deserve similar praise. Forst plays the composer in an endearingly modest way: Ziehrer is not a glamorous hero, but an insecure and timid young man who more often than not has to rely on his friend Engerl to make his progress. Engerl is played by Hans Moser, who gives one of the best performances of his entire career here; caring and heartfelt, a complete character much more than in most of his other films (don't worry, he still gets a lot of chances to do his famous ranting and his mumbling is even worse than usual, but that's what creates the charm, of course). And one can easily understand why the two ladies, especially the stunning Judith Holzmeister, make such an impression on the Forst character....

This production was one of the last big budget (Filmoperette)-musicals set in 19th century Vienna. A must for fans of romantic costume drama

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