The luminescent Lillian Harvey plays the title character in the historical drama Fanny Elssler. In hopes of preventing Napoleon's son, the Duke of Reichstadt (Rolf Moebius), from establishing another dynasty in France, Prince Metternich of Austria (Paul Hoffman) introduces the Duke to beautiful ballerina Fanny. The Prince hopes that Reichstadt will fall in love with Fanny, thereby forgetting his plans for conquest. But Metternich didn't intend for Fanny to fall in love with the Duke -- and when she does, she is deported. For the rest of the film, the lovers try to stage a reunion, only to be thwarted by Metternich's anti-royalist minions. In the film's lachrymose finale, Fanny Ellsler learns that her beloved Reichstadt has succumbed to tuberculosis, but she must fight back her tears and return to the ballet stage. It was a scene that Lillian Harvey had played on several different occasions in several different vehicles, but she always managed to make it seem as though it was happening for the first time.
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