“Al cavallino bianco”: The 1954 Italian Film Version Starring Rosy Barsony

Kevin Clarke
Operetta Research Center
20 July, 2016

As everyone knows, by now, there are many White Horse Inn incarnations out there, and it seems more and more are popping up every day. A “classic” version on film is the 1954 Production from Italy, in black-and-white. And: starring Rosy Barsony as Ottilie. This film, long ignored by German speaking researchers, is now available on YouTube, as a full-length feature of 1 hour and 50 minutes.

The film, directed by Mario Landi, is a typical 1950s operetta film from Italy, very much in the visual and singing style of Paese dei campanelli from the same year. Both were made for Italian TV, both had great Italian stars from that era. Miss Barsony was a well-known performer in Italy after the war, after the Nazis had halted her stage and movie career in Germany. Little is known, in German language publications, about her post-German career; it seems to end, officially, after her glorious Roxy und ihr Wunderteam movie, which hit Austrian cinemas just a week before the “Anschluss,” and then disappeared for too many decades.

To encounter Barsony again, in this 1954 spectacle, is a joy. And absolute joy. Because she brings her typical “craziness” to the genre, a madness mostly absent from post-war operetta films, and certainly not found in any of the other performances in this Cavallino bianco. Even though Miss Barsony is visibly older than in her famous previous films, she is still a spectacular dancer. Ottilie is usually not considered a great dancing part, but when you witness Barsony, you realize it should be a great dancing part.

After all, Ottilie gets to perform in two of the most famous dance numbers of the score: “Mein Liebeslied muss ein Walzer sein” and “Die ganze Welt ist himmelblau,” the two Robert Stolz evergreens.

Another great performance is Elvio Caleroni as Leopold, it’s especially great because there is an amazing Piccolo who demonstrates that this “junior part” is crucial and should not be cut, as is often the case.

The film has not been around in a commercial issue for years. Neither has the soundtrack. Here, now, is the full feature in acceptable sound and visual quality. It’s a must-see for anyone interested in Im weißen Rössl. Thank you, Marco Conti, for uploading the film! (Make sure you don’t miss the stable scene with the cows and cow girls.)

There are 2 comments

  1. Henning Hagedorn

    Was für ein Fundstück!
    Bemerkenswert ist, dass die Musik nur auf der 1930er Fassung basiert und viele instrumentatorische Besonderheiten Künnekes übernommen wurden, wenn auch die meisten Effekte bei der Soundqualität untergehen.
    Leider wurden auch hier die „üblichen“ Kürzungen vorgenommen…

  2. Jim

    Duna TV, the Hungarian equivalent of BBC World, Deutsche Welle, or TV5Monde, on 9 East occasionally broadcasts the Hungarian language version of Roxy, aka “3:1 a szerelem javára” free to air. I caught it last January, so it may be up for an annual repeat soon. I’ve never seen the German version available anywhere.