Filmed in 1932, Die Verkaufte Braut is Max Ophuls' own unique spin on the Smetana opera The Bartered Bride. The film is a showcase for celebrated Czech opera diva Jarmila Novotna, whose screen appearances were unfortunately few and far between. The original libretto, involving the comic misadventures of two mismatched couples, is given a respectable amount of attention, but the film's biggest selling card is the photographic dexterity of Max Ophuls, who never met a camera crane he didn't like. Since filmed opera was seldom big box-office in 1932, Ophuls concentrates on the farcical elements of the story; especially worth noting are comic contributions by Paul Kemp and Otto Wernicke, who seldom let their German film fans down. Curiously, star Jarmila Novotna, whose "live" appearances in The Bartered Bride were much prized by contemporary critics, doesn't come off all that well in this film version.
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