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A comedy by Ferenc Molnar.
Translated by Sidney Howard.
[Starring] Dulcie Gray, Martita Hunt and Michael Denison
The action takes place at a fashionable watering-place in Austria during a summer before the first World War.
Olympia, a rare and untypical specimen of the work of Ferenc Molnar, is a comedy of manners anchored in irony.
The scene is a fashionable spa of pre-1914 Austria, at an hotel peopled largely from the higher Court circles, but not quite exclusive enough for the Princess Eugenie. "There seems to be a horrible democracy about health" she laments, and is faintly nauseated by the idea of bathing in the same waters as the ubiquitous newspapermen - a species of which her opinion is low, due to the habit of the press of relaying Court gossip to its readers. The power of print in transforming private fun into public scandal increases, of course, in direct ratio to the social positions of the people having the fun.
Olympia, Eugenie's daughter and a Princess herself, has been having fun, and has been indiscreet enough to encourage-perhaps even to fall in love with-a dashing Hungarian Hussar Captain. The man has charm, he rides well, and Eugenie welcomes his skill at the bridge table, but he is, relatively speaking, a peasant. He must be put in his place; and Olympia, a diamond chip off the old tiara in her belief in the innate superiority of the nobility, will scorn her own love as well as his to preserve her dignity.
It was Moliere's dictum that "correction of social absurdities must at all times be the matter of true comedy", and here Molnar follows the rule, in his fashion, with pleasant wit. (Kenneth A. Hurren)