Invitation to the Waltz (film)

Last updated

Invitation to the Waltz
Directed by Paul Merzbach
Written by
Produced by Walter C. Mycroft
Edited byJohn Neill Brown
Music by Walter Goehr
Distributed by Wardour Films
Release date
October 1935
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Language English

Invitation to the Waltz is a 1935 British historical musical film directed by Paul Merzbach and starring Lilian Harvey, Wendy Toye and Carl Esmond. [1] It was based on a play by Eric Maschwitz.



It was made by British International Pictures at Elstree Studios. The film's sets were designed by John Mead and Clarence Elder. Much of the film's score consists of extracts of classical music arranged by Walter Goehr. It was the only film made in Britain by the London-born German star Harvey. Harvey had returned from Hollywood and signed a three-film contract with British International Pictures, but after making only this film she returned to Germany and agreed a new contract with UFA. [2]


In London Jenny, an aspiring ballet dancer, meets an aide to the Duke of Wuerttemberg who is in Britain for a marriage alliance and financial treaty to supply troops to Britain for the war against Napoleon. After being discovered by an Italian impresario she goes to Venice to be trained as a great dancer. The visiting Duke of Wuerttemberg becomes fascinated with her and engages her to perform at the state operate house in his capital of Stuttgart, hoping also to make her his mistress.

The British authorities encourage Jenny to go to Stuttgart and try to live extravagantly at the Duke's expense in the hope that a shortage of funds with compel him to renew his treaty against Napoleon. However at the border she once again meets the handsome aide she had first encountered in London, who has been ordered to escort her, and who is hurt by the fact that she now appears to be the Duke's lover. Unable to reveal the true purpose of her mission to him, she outrages him and the inhabitants of the Duchy by the exorbitant demands she makes of their ruler.

Having finally persuaded the Duke to sign the treaty with Britain, her plans to escape from the Duchy are wrecked when Napoleon invades and captures Stuttgart. Forced to appear in a command performance for the Emperor, she is eventually able to cross the border in the company of the Duke's aide.


Related Research Articles

Congress of Vienna 1814-15 redrawing of the European political order following the defeat of Napoleonic France

The Congress of Vienna of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I. It was a meeting of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September 1814 to June 1815.

Frederick I of Württemberg Duke/Elector/King of Württemberg

Frederick I was the ruler of Württemberg from 1797 to his death. He was the last Duke of Württemberg from 1797 to 1803, then the first and only Elector of Württemberg from 1803 to 1806, before raising Württemberg to a kingdom in 1806 with the approval of Napoleon I. He was known for his size: at 2.12 m and about 200 kg (440 lb).

Charlotte, Princess Royal Princess Royal

Charlotte, Princess Royal, was Queen of Württemberg as the wife of King Frederick I. She was the eldest daughter and fourth child of King George III of the United Kingdom and his wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Ludwigsburg Town in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Ludwigsburg is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) north of Stuttgart city centre, near the river Neckar. It is the largest and primary city of the Ludwigsburg district with about 88,000 inhabitants. It is situated within the Stuttgart Region, and the district is part of the administrative region (Regierungsbezirk) of Stuttgart.

Carl Esmond Austrian-American actor (1902–2004)

Carl Esmond was an Austrian-born American film and stage actor, born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. Although his age was given as 33 in the passenger list when he arrived in the USA in January 1938, in his naturalization petition his birth year is stated as 1902. His stage names were Willy Eichberger and Charles Esmond and finally Carl Esmond. He trained at Vienna's State Academy of Dramatic Arts, and made his film debut in the operetta The Emperor's Waltz (1933). He was active in the Viennese genre of shallow romantic comedies so popular in the Austria of the interwar period.

Lilian Harvey Anglo-German actress and singer,

Lilian Harvey was an Anglo-German actress and singer, long based in Germany, where she is best known for her role as Christel Weinzinger in Erik Charell's 1931 film Der Kongreß tanzt.

John Parish English musician and record producer

John Parish is an English musician, songwriter, composer and record producer.

<i>Der Kongreß tanzt</i> 1931 film

Der Kongress tanzt is a German musical comedy film produced in 1931 by Ufa, directed by Erik Charell, starring Lilian Harvey as Christel Weinzinger, the glove seller, Willy Fritsch as Tsar Alexander I of Russia and his doppelgänger, Uralsky, Otto Wallburg as Bibikoff, his Adjutant, Conrad Veidt as Prince Metternich, Carl-Heinz Schroth as his Secretary, Pepi, Lil Dagover as the Countess and Alfred Abel as the King of Saxony.

Frederic Zelnik German filmmaker

Frederic Zelnik was an Austrian producer, director, and actor. He was one of the most important producers-directors of the German silent cinema. Zelnik achieved success through period operetta films in the 1920s and 1930s.

Geoffrey Toye

Edward Geoffrey Toye, known as Geoffrey Toye, was an English conductor, composer and opera producer.

Dance Pretty Lady is a 1931 British drama film directed by Anthony Asquith and starring Ann Casson, Carl Harbord, Michael Hogan, Moore Marriott and Flora Robson. It was based on the 1912 novel Carnival by Compton Mackenzie. The novel was subsequently remade as a 1946 film Carnival.

Beryl May Jessie Toye,, known professionally as Wendy Toye, was a British dancer, stage and film director and actress.

<i>Girls Will Be Boys</i> 1934 British film

Girls Will Be Boys is a 1934 British comedy film directed by Marcel Varnel and starring Dolly Haas, Cyril Maude and Esmond Knight. It is based on The Last Lord, a play by Kurt Siodmak. The film was shot at Elstree Studios with sets designed by the art director Cedric Dawe. Haas made this, her first English-language film, following a Nazi-led riot at the premiere of her previous film Das häßliche Mädchen, and in 1936 fled Germany altogether.

<i>Lets Live Tonight</i> 1935 film

Let's Live Tonight is a 1935 American musical comedy film directed by Victor Schertzinger and starring Lilian Harvey, Tullio Carminati and Janet Beecher. The film was made as part of an unsuccessful attempt to establish Harvey, who was a top box office draw in Germany, as a major star in Hollywood. Harvey was under contract to Fox Film, but was loaned out to Columbia Pictures for the production. After making it, Harvey returned to Europe, first to Britain to appear in Invitation to the Waltz and then to Germany, where she starred in Black Roses, which relaunched her German career.

<i>Waltz of Love</i> 1930 film

Waltz of Love is a 1930 German musical film directed by Wilhelm Thiele and starring Lilian Harvey, Willy Fritsch and Georg Alexander. It premiered at the Gloria-Palast in Berlin on 7 February 1930. A separate English language version The Love Waltz was also produced.

The Love Waltz is a 1930 German English language musical film directed by Carl Winston and starring Lilian Harvey, Georg Alexander and John Batten. It is the English-language version of Waltz of Love (1930) which also starred Harvey.

<i>Black Roses</i> (1935 film) 1935 film

Black Roses is a 1935 German historical drama film directed by Paul Martin and starring Lilian Harvey, Willy Fritsch and Willy Birgel. A separate English-language version Black Roses was also made with Harvey reprising her role opposite Esmond Knight. She also starred in a French version. The film was Harvey's comeback in German cinema, following her attempt to at Hollywood and then British films. One source suggested that Harvey paid for the English version of the film to be made out of her own money, as she still hoped to break into the English-speaking market.

<i>The Empress and I</i> 1933 film

The Empress and I is a 1933 German musical comedy film directed by Friedrich Hollaender and starring Lilian Harvey, Mady Christians and Conrad Veidt. It is also known by the alternative title of The Only Girl. The film was produced as a multi-language version. Moi et l'impératrice a separate French-language version was released as well as The Only Girl in English. The multilingual Harvey played the same role in all three films.

<i>Fanny Elssler</i> (1937 film) 1937 film

Fanny Elssler is a 1937 German historical drama film directed by Paul Martin and starring Lilian Harvey, Rolf Moebius, and Willy Birgel. It was loosely based on the life of the dancer Fanny Elssler.

The Only Girl is a 1933 British-German musical film directed by Friedrich Hollaender and starring Lilian Harvey, Charles Boyer, and Mady Christians. It is the English-language version of The Empress and I which also starred Harvey and Christians. It was the last in a series of MLV co-productions between UFA and Gainsborough Pictures. It was released in the United States in 1934 by Fox Film.


  1. "Invitation to the Waltz (1935)". Archived from the original on 16 January 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  2. Bock & Bergfelder p. 51–52