Magda Schneider, Wolfgang Liebeneiner, Luise Ullrich, Willy Eichberger,
Max Ophuls’s adaptation of a Schnitzler drama is both a sharp critique of outmoded social conventions and a lyrical evocation of former times and loves. “Since I met you, the past doesn’t count,” a sensitive lieutenant tells his new sweetheart on an idyllic sleigh ride in turn-of-the-century Vienna. Experience proves, however, that the past can be a matter of life and death. Liebelei was released in Germany with the names of Ophuls (né Oppenheimer) and Schnitzler pointedly excised from the credits. But the film is unmistakably Ophuls, from its atmosphere of morally dubious Old World elegance to its devastating tracking shots.