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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Historical document regarding the happenings in and around Vienna circa 1888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.

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