From Mayerling to Sarajevo ★★★

Def lower tier Ophuls - obviously still worth a watch. The opening had so many nice layers of action and choreographed moves that I felt like I was about to embark on a tour de force, only to be left with mostly bland single coverage. The setup for the romance is nice classic Ophuls, if a bit too morally clear cut (altho the seething anger FF exhibits towards the end hints at something more complex).  

But yeah - intimacy with obstacles - just basically got into a repetitive holding pattern for how that manifested itself. And beyond a few scenes of humiliation like when they want FF and the Czech to walk on the little staircase rather than the imperial one, their alienation sort of blends into one long slog. 

There is something special montages used to do - showing us how the years go by and nothing that happens in life matters - whether you're a prince or a pauper. Whether you are rich or poor, have a family or are alone - you get older and more despondent and settle. Life is some sad sack shit and montages used to convey that perfectly.

Anyway we all know how this one ends.

Note: There's a great scene towards the beginning where FF's diplomacy strategies could've been taken right out of the Donald Trump playbook a la "Fire and Fury"