Mayerling Review

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Historical document regarding the happenings in and around Vienna circa 1888


This sprawling saga retells the tragic affair between Hapsburg heir, crown prince Rudolph (Omar Sharif, at the height of his looks and talents) and his mistress Maria Vetersa (Catherine Deneuve; pretty but bland), victims of a mysterious suicide pact at the royal hunting lodge at Mayerling in 1889. The handsome, strangely dispassionate romance is played out to a more promising background of political skulduggery and civil unrest, the threads of which get lost as the disappointing love story sweeps all before it. However, a cast of big names (including Ava Gardener and James Mason) add to the overall feeling of richness.

Pompous but not without its many pleasures.