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'La Guerre des Valses" is to be shown gain today at the Institute of Geographical Exploration, at 1.40, 4.00, 6.30, and 8.50 o'clock. Go, by all means, whether you understand French or not. Have no remorse over excluding the rightful claimants, the scholars of French, for they probably won't understand the dialogue any better than you. The words, intriguing as they may be, don't signify anyway. For this story is told in that super Esperanto music.
The surging and retreating of the three-part rhythm, and the rollicking gaiety that eddies in its midst, make one think that he was born anywhere from eighty to twenty years too late. There may have been war in 1839 between Joseph Lanner and Johann Strauss, the waltz-king and the brilliant rebel, but that war had more melody and harmony than a hundred years of our stodgy peace. At any rate, open dissension is boiling away at the very moment when Sir Philip, Superintendent of the Court of Balls, emissary of Queen Victoria, arrives in Vienna to choose the best orchestra to carry the waltz to England. For this reason, it is two hostile factions that bring the leaping sound to the court at London, and the war continues on foreign soil.
The confusion of the conflict is heightened by the equivocal position of a certain Franz (Fernand Gravey), who is both the inseparable friend of Berr Strauss and the beau of the sprightly daughter of Herr Lanner. But whatever the vicissitudes of the Orphean entertainers, all goes well with the royal audiences. An exquisitely petite Queen Victoria (Madeleine Ozeray) gently outrages a bashful Prince Albert, until the music and the dance compel him to declare his suit. Hearts inter-twine for Vicey and her cousts.
But the real interest centers in Kati Lanner and Fraus. M. Gravey is well established with the French, and satisfies abundantly with the ingenuous jollity he brings to this part. As a simple-hearted drummer, he has his tribulations imitating the mighty Johann, but as a lover her cannot be impugned. The rest of the players are just about as good. And they can't help pleasing, set as they are in an unbroken spell of rapturous melody.
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