The Emperor Waltz

Synopsis: Traveling Salesman Virgil Smith wants to sell his Grammophones in pre-WWI Austria. To enhance this, he especially wants to sell one to Emperor Franz Joseph, but at first the Austrian palace guards think he is carrying a bomb. He meets the Countess Johanna von Stolzenberg-Stolzenberg and after the usual misunderstandings, falls in love with her, this is especially assisted by his dog Buttons. But the relation between a Countess and an ordinary U.S. citizen cannot work in Austria, that is the Emperor's opinion. Is he wrong ?
Director(s): Billy Wilder
Production: Paramount
  Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
106 min




Hello, Countess.

How did you get here?

Through the window.

Forgot to mail me

my invitation.

Go away.


- I said go away.

- And I said no.

What do you want now?

I had to see you

just once more.

I have nothing to say to you.

don't want you

to say anything.

I want you to listen.

Can't we go somewhere

and talk?

I hate you,

loathe you, despise you.

You didn't always.

There was a time you loved me.

Wasn't there, Countess?


The Emperor will have

them shot, both of them!

Let me see.

That the lenses

of these opera glasses

don't crack for shame.

Isn't that the daughter

of Baron Holenia?

Yes. Johanna Augusta

Franziska, Countess

von Stolzenberg-Stolzenberg,

disgracing every syllable

ofher name.

But who is he?

That's the man,

that's the one.

That's the who?

The man. Haven't you heard?

Where have you been?

In a mud bath in Bad Nauheim,

trying to cure my poor heart.

I'd forgotten.

It's nothing.

Don't stop now.

Very well, you've asked for it.

It's a love affair that has

rocked Vienna for four months.

Who is he?

The most vulgar, impossible,

obnoxious, ill-mannered...

In one word,

an American.


Yes. And low

even among Americans.

He's what they call

a traveling salesman.

A traveling salesman

and a baron's daughter.

You heard about the attempt

on the Emperor's life?

That's the man.


He swindled an appointment

with His Majesty...

by presenting himself

as a great potentate.

Later, it transpired he was

a very minor potentate...

in an American organization

known as the Shriners.

I remember the day he came

to the palace with his

nasty little dog...

and a mysterious,

sinister black box.

Do you know what was

in that box?


[Whistling Stops]

How are you today?

Will you follow me,



Here, Buttons.

Stop chewing that gum.

Here, give it to me.

Come here.


[Barking Continues]


[Barking, Whining]

Scheherazade, please.

Remember your manners.

And do stop fidgeting

with your moustache.

I'm not nervous.

I know perfectly well

why the Emperor

has summoned us.

So do I. He's found out

You belong in jail.

You're talking to your father.

That's what's so depressing.

My own father, a scoundrel.

Mortgaging the mortgage

on our castle which was

already mortgaged.

How was I to know?

I'm not a businessman:

I'm a general.

Then taking the money and

gambling it away in a night.

The cards were marked.

Two duels already this season,

named as corespondent in the

divorce of some pastry baker,

sued by a young lady in

the chorus at the opera...

because you promised her

the lead in Aida.

The little fool.

I'm not the director

of the opera, I'm a general.

As I was trying to say

16 insults ago,

I don't believe

the Emperor summoned us

on account of me at all.

He summoned us

on account of you.

Me? What have I done?

have an idea someone has

expressed an interest in you...

and the Emperor wants

to arrange a marriage.

Oh, nonsense. His Majesty

knows I'm still in mourning.

Two years of mourning

for a husband you

couldn't endure is enough.

Yes, I see a highly satisfactory

new marriage.

Some member of the Belgian

diplomatic corps,

or perhaps

a Russian duke.

I like Russians, don't you?

Money just oozes from them.

And, dear Papa,

You could always

mortgage the Kremlin.

[Door Opens]

His Excellency

the General Baron Holenia...

and the Countess

von Stolzenberg-Stolzenberg.



Oh, Baron Holenia.


My dearJohanna.

Oh, get up.

Sorry I can't kiss your hand.


Bad cold.

And how is


You're wearing new perfume,

aren't you?

Even I can smell it

with my stuffed up nose.

Oh, sit down, do.


Louis, come on.

Say hello to Scheherazade.


Why do they always

pick a damp day for me

to inaugurate a bridge...

or open a horticultural

exhibition, or...

Oh, well. Mustn't grumble.

It's the hazard

of the profession.

If I may be permitted

a suggestion,

has Your Majesty tried

pine needles in boiling water,

inhaling the vapor

under a towel?

Pine needles?

Certainly not.

Shouldn't want

my whiskers to smell

like old Christmas trees.

[Coughing, Sniffling]

Has, uh, anything

particular come up lately?

You ask that?

Look at my desk.

Reports, complaints,

unforgivable stupidities,

downright dishonesty,


Go on,

look at them.

I'd rather not,

Your Majesty.

I don't blame you.


Now, do you know why

I summoned you here today?

Yes. I mean, no.

I mean...

We have rather

an inkling, Your Majesty.

Then what are you looking

so gloomy about? Don't you

approve of the alliance?


A marriage!

Do you or don't you know

what 'm talking about?

Yes. I mean, no.

I mean...

We have rather

an inkling, Your Majesty.

This match

means a great deal to me.

I've given it infinite thought.

I've looked up the blood lines

on both sides.

Fine, fine. One couldn't

ask for better.

Thank you, Your Majesty.

I broughtJohanna up to realize

that blood comes first.

What pleases me most,

both lines are very prolific.

Oh, little embarrassing

to talk about this.

Not at all, Your Majesty.

I anticipate

superb offspring.

And I'm going to be

a little greedy about them.


Well, I'm a lonely man.

I've lost my wife,

my son.

It'll warm my heart

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Charles Brackett

Charles William Brackett (November 26, 1892 – March 9, 1969) was an American novelist, screenwriter, and film producer, best known for his long collaboration with Billy Wilder. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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