OK so it’s Valentine’s Day and time to catch a romantic film. Two of my favourites just happen to have a very strong connection to Austria.
Before Sunrise has come of age at 21 this year but still delights and charms. The first of the Richard Linklater trilogy tells the story of Jessie and Celine, who meet on a train and then spend the day and night getting to know each other, as they move through the Viennese cityscape. The trailer gives a taster of Vienna’s suporting actor role as the backdrop.
Discover Celine and Jessie’s Vienna
I love this film because it still brings a smile and it is responsible for making me fall back in love with Austria. The first time I saw it I hadn’t been to Vienna for years and it was like a sledgehammer to my senses. I have since watched it at least 20 – possibly even 30 times. This is to try to recognise where every scene was shot. I have slowly worked my way around the city discovering the locations -here are just a few of my photos:
These and/or other locations, I share on my Guided Walking Tour: Vienna in Film – Jessie and Celine’s Vienna.
The second Valentine’s tearjerker has a more indirect connection. The wartime Oscar winner Casablanca. The score was written by legendary Hollywood composer Max Steiner. He came from a well-established Viennese Jewish family with links to Strauss and the Prater amusement park. More on his history and legacy on the Hollywood in Vienna site.
The dashing Victor Laszlo was played by Paul Georg Julius von Henreid, a refugee from Hitler’s Nazi Regime in his homeland. Originally from a banking family in Trieste, then in the Austro-Hungarian empire, his family moved to Viena where he studied under Max Reinhardt. The young Bulgarian husband, Jan, was played by Helmut Dantine an Austrian also seeking refuge from the Nazis in the US. The head waiter Carl, was played by S Z Sakall, also a Jewish Hungarian.
Peter Lorre was born Laszlo Loewenstein in Rosenberg in Hungary. However, the most famous Austro-Hungarian was the director Michael Curtiz, born Mihaly Kertesz in Budapest.
Play it Sam. Play, as time goes by..