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Congress Dances (1932)

The Congress Dances (original title)
An Austrian prince hatches a plan to keep his rival, the Russian czar, busy by keeping him surrounded by beautiful women and away from the negotiating table. The Czar, however, has his own ... See full summary »


Erik Charell


Norbert Falk, Rowland Leigh (adaptation) | 1 more credit »


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Credited cast:
Lilian Harvey ... Christel
Conrad Veidt ... Prince Metternich
Henri Garat ... Zar Alexander I / Uralsky (as Henry Garat)
Lil Dagover ... Countess
Gibb McLaughlin ... Bibikoff
Reginald Purdell Reginald Purdell ... Pepi
Philipp Manning Philipp Manning ... King of Saxony (as Dr. Philip Mannering)
Humberston Wright Humberston Wright ... Duke of Wellington
Helen Haye ... Princess
Spencer Trevor Spencer Trevor ... Finance Minister
Tarquini d'Or Tarquini d'Or ... Heurige Singer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Olga Engl
Thomas Weguelin Thomas Weguelin


An Austrian prince hatches a plan to keep his rival, the Russian czar, busy by keeping him surrounded by beautiful women and away from the negotiating table. The Czar, however, has his own plan--he hires a man who is his exact double to impersonate him and confuse the Austrians by appearing to be everywhere at once. In addition, both the Czar and his double fall for the same woman. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The New Hit of the English Talking Screen!







Release Date:

11 May 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Congress Dances See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universum Film (UFA) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Tobis-Klangfilm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In his biography "Ich hab für euch gespielt", Paul Hörbiger reports that he was in the film's big ballroom dance scene. Producer Erich Pommer, who would closely supervise all of his productions, was also on the set. Part of a burning carbon rod from an arc light fell among the actors. One dancer's costume burst into flame. Pommer was the first to react, attempting to tear off the burning fabric and beat out the flames. He suffered severe burns on both his hands but was unable to save the young dancer who died two days later. The highly publicized incident had a worldwide effect, causing arc lamp manufacturers to implement safety measures and fabric mills to add flame retardant to their synthetic fabrics. See more »


Just Once for All Time
English version of "Das gibt's nur einmal, das kommt nie wieder"
Music by Werner R. Heymann
Lyrics by Robert Gilbert
English lyrics by Rowland Leigh
Sung by Lilian Harvey
See more »

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User Reviews

pastry with whipped cream
27 December 2010 | by mukava991See all my reviews

I expected Congress Dances to be an operetta but it's actually a farcical comedy taking place during the 1814-1815 Congress of Vienna with two very long and elaborately shot musical sequences. Think of it as a sweet Viennese pastry (the story) with two blobs of thick whipped cream (the musical sequences).

On the one hand the story concerns the efforts of the high and mighty to outmaneuver each other in the deal making that went on as Europe was reorganized after the Napoleonic upset. On the other we follow the fairy tale journey of a glove shop sales clerk (Lilian Harvey in her scintillating, elfin prime) into and out of the arms of the visiting Tsar Alexander (Willy Fritsch, excellent in a dual role as the Tsar and his oafish double). Prince Metternich (played smoothly by Conrad Veidt in a very unflattering pouffy looking wig) is busily manipulating the delegates by listening in on their conversations through a network of tubes connecting his bedroom to every corner of the palace, and reading their outgoing and incoming correspondence by placing the sealed envelopes on a backlit glass plate (there were clever spying mechanisms even back then). Much of the footage involves sweeping and elaborate camera movements through dense crowds in streets, palaces, a ballroom and a beer garden. The musical number "Das gibt's nur einmal" transports Harvey in a carriage from her shop through the teeming city streets, into the countryside past dancing peasants and to a grand villa where she runs up the stairs and into a sumptuous bedroom, singing all the way. The song is reprised as a finale of sorts. Earlier we have a beer garden number in which Paul Horbiger strolls among the happy customers singing "Wien und der Wein." The technical complexity of the Harvey number was too much to handle at the time, as evidenced by the way her lip movements are markedly out of synch with the soundtrack. If you watch this and other crowd scenes with no sound they have the flow of late silent cinema, reminiscent of Murnau but also glimmers of Ophuls. Finally, Lil Dagover appears in a few scenes as a French countess sent by Metternich to distract the Tsar from the diplomatic table. But any chance to see the magnificent Dagover should be taken.

The print at the Museum of Modern Art is well worn.

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