The Warner Archive Collection has issued a handsomely remastered version of “The Great Waltz,” a fanciful 1938 MGM biography of the Viennese composer Johann Strauss mostly directed by the French filmmaker Julien Duvivier on a pre-war visit to Hollywood. While Duvivier was in Hollywood, directing an international cast that included the Belgian music hall star Fernand Gravey, the reigning coloratura of Berlin, Miliza Korjus, and the German Jewish actress Luise Rainer, the Anschluss was happening back in Europe, an inconvenient truth that “The Great Waltz” seems at some pains to suppress — particularly in a magnificent final montage, reportedly staged by Josef von Sternberg, in which all the peoples of the Danube are depicted waltzing away to Strauss’s swirling tune.
The Warner release seemed like a good excuse to finally get around to Jean-Marie Straub and Danielle Huillet’s 1973 opera film “Moses und Aron,” which New Yorker Video brought out in a nicely appointed edition a few weeks ago. Once again, we are dealing with a great Viennese composer, Arnold Schoenberg, whose tunes may not be as snappy as Strauss’s but do provide a solid framework for one of the Straubs’s most rigorous investigations of representation in the cinema. A review and further wild speculation here, in the New York Times.