by Arthur Schnitzler
|1,515,560 admissions (France)
La Ronde is a 1950 French anthology film directed by Max Ophüls and based on Arthur Schnitzler's 1897 play La Ronde.
Set in Vienna in 1900, it shows ten amorous encounters across the social spectrum, from a street prostitute to a nobleman, with each scene involving one character from the previous episode. The French term 'La Ronde' can mean any of the following: circling around, doing the rounds, a round of drinks, a circular dance.
The film won the BAFTA award for Best Film and was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Writing and Best Art Direction.
The master of ceremonies opens proceedings by telling the audience that they will see various episodes in the endless waltz of love. A prostitute takes a soldier under a bridge. The soldier picks up a chambermaid at a dance hall. The chambermaid willingly succumbs to the son of her employers. The young man starts an affair with the young wife of an older businessman. She then has an edgy discussion in bed with her husband. The husband takes a shopgirl to a private dining room and gets her drunk. The shopgirl falls for a poet, who is pursuing an affair with an actress. The actress invites a count to visit her in bed next morning. That evening, he gets drunk and ends up in the bed of the prostitute, so completing the circle.
In order of appearance:
Although at the time of production, Schnitzler's son was still enforcing his father's stipulation that the play — Reigen (or La Ronde) — should never be performed or adapted, Ophuls was able to secure the rights to it because of Schnitzler's additional stipulation that his French-language translator was to own the rights to the French version.
The film was classified by New York film censors as "immoral" and therefore unacceptable for public screenings. At the end of 1953, the film's producers appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and, in 1954, La Ronde was approved for exhibition in New York without any cuts.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 100% based on 15 reviews, with an average rating of 8.21/10.