Happy Heirs

“Why work hard and save all your life when your money will only go to your happy heirs?” goes the German saying whose irony informs this musical comedy. A Romeo and Juliet of the Rhineland, the story tells of a fierce competition between two champagne-making families, the Bockelmanns and the Stumms, whose greed is matched only by their animosity, and whose respective children fall in love with each other. Young Peter is challenged by his uncle's will to abstain from drinking wine altogether for a month in order to inherit the family fortune, but love for Gina requires him to lift the forbidden cup. As in so much of Ophuls, romance and money are entangled; but unlike in the tragedies, here, to love not only is human, it turns a profit.

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