La Ronde. 1950. France. Directed by Max Ophuls. In French; English subtitles. 110 min.
Screenplay by Ophuls, Jacques Natanson, based on the play Reigen, by Arthur Schnitzler. With Anton Walbrook, Simone Signoret, Serge Reggiani, Simone Simon, Danielle Darrieux, Jean-Louis Barrault. Shot entirely on a soundstage in postwar France, Ophuls’s transcendent adaptation of Reigen, the Schnitzler play that scandalized fin-de-siècle bourgeois audiences, features a linked series of love affairs that are, by turns, deliriously romantic, tenderly comical, and hopelessly disappointing. As each tryst begets the next until the story comes full circle, lovers are victim to their own fickle desires and illusions. Walbrook’s omniscient Raconteur keeps the carousel spinning, keeping an eye out for mechanical failure, or inversely, shielding the viewer from excesses on screen, irreverently implying that their place is just off screen. La Ronde was was Ophuls’s first film upon his return to France, after spending the 1940s in Hollywood. The poster featured a stylized carousel design by Michel Gérard.