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By John C. Tibbetts

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And the perennially popular ‘‘Ave Maria’’ connotes Schubert’s religious convictions. The point is clear, as Schubert biographer Christopher Gibbs declares sardonically, ‘‘Schubert’s music becomes the soundtrack for mythological narratives of his life. . ’’≤≠ Another Schubert film, the joint British-American Melody Master (alternatively titled New Wine), released by United Artists in 1941, is a more ambitious film, but it utilizes the Blossom Time paradigm in several of its plot points and in its use of music.

Dugarde Peach and Gerald Elliott and produced by Rank’s GWH Productions, was essentially a wartime film intended to bolster patriotic sentiments among its viewers. Released to embattled Londoners at the height of the Blitz, it wears its British nationalism on its sleeve and makes of the composer a proper British patriot. At the same time, as I discuss below, here is a Handel who embodies and balances the antimonies of the ‘‘possessor’’ of will and industry (the populist figure) and the ‘‘possessed’’ of divinely inspired genius (the transcendent genius).

Although we may see it in hindsight as more than just a footnote in Hitchcock’s career, Waltzes from Vienna elicited only tepid responses from American critics at the time. ’’≥∂ And Motion Picture Daily noted: ‘‘Here is a film that will charm music lovers because of the immortal compositions of the two Strausses, father and son; but except for this there is little else in the way of entertainment. ’’≥∑ But the public’s appetite for Johann Strauss biopics was undiminished. The Great Waltz, the first American cousin to Waltzes from Vienna, was released by MGM in November 1938 to great acclaim.

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