Don Juan's private life

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German title Don Juan's private life
Original title The Private Life of Don Juan
Country of production Great Britain
original language English
Publishing year 1934
length 87 minutes
Director Alexander Korda
script Lajos Biró ,
Frederick Lonsdale
production Alexander Korda
music Ernst Toch
camera Georges Périnal
cut Stephen Harrison

Don Juan's Personal Life is a 1934 British film with Douglas Fairbanks in the title role. Directed by Alexander Korda .


Spain, in the 17th century. The aging grief don Juan just can't help it. He still climbs after the women, and they still throw languid glances at him from their balconies when he throws them a rose to say goodbye. But his doctor advises him to take it easy: "Only one balcony a day instead of ten!" Then it should gradually reduce to four and then to two balconies per week. “And in 15 years there won't be any more balconies for you!” Now Don Juan is returning to Seville after a long time . His wife Dolores had once threatened to have him jailed for his countless affairs. Despite the greatest secrecy, Juan is all the more astonished that the whole city knows of his return the following day. In the young Rodrigo, who is staying in the same inn as him, he has found a great admirer and constant companion. He sees don Juan, who is said to have had 903 affairs in three years, his great role model and emulates him in everything.

Don Juan sees this role model function rather critically. "There is only one Don Juan," he snorts angrily. Rodrigo is completely absorbed in his role as a Don Juan duplicate. He kisses a certain Pepitta on her balcony, but acts a little clumsily and is seen and promptly mistaken for Don Juan. As he is just about to conquer the heart (and the bed) of the beautiful dancer Antonita, the young woman accuses him of kissing Pepitta last night. Juan has this far from himself, but suspects that this devoted Rodrigo has got into his enclosure again. Juan's wife is angry that her old man from man apparently doesn't seem to have changed a bit even after so many years, but she still doesn't want to give him up. Once again don Juan has a hard time breaking away from a devoted lover - this time Antonita. In the meantime, Rodrigo is surprised by his husband, Don Alfredo, while he is having fun with a married woman. A degenduell takes place in which the would-be don Juan loses his life. Now all of Seville believes the eternal philanderer is dead.

This opens up completely new possibilities for the real Don Juan. He was just thinking of having to flee to Paris, because his loyal friend and administrator Leporello told him how angry his faithful wife was still or already angry with him in the face of the new affairs. Don Juan has finally got some peace. He attends his own funeral in disguise and sees the huge procession of women dressed in black, some of whom he doesn't even know. Leporello asks one of the mourners: "Why do you mourn him, did you know him?" "No," replies the woman. “Then why do you mourn?” Leporello asks. “Because I didn't know him!” Is the disarming answer from the stranger. Don Juan tells Leporello that this is the best day of his life and gets on his horse to ride away. “The women mourn at my funeral. Can you imagine what they won't do until I return? ”Meanwhile, the grieving women in the funeral procession quarrel over which of them don Juan loved most. Only the true widow doesn't want to mourn at all and remembers the short but wonderful time when she had don Juan all to herself.

In the meantime Juan has settled abroad as retired Captain Mariano. Then he heard from the marketplace how his unauthorized memoirs entitled The Private Life of Don Juan were being offered for sale. He reads with amusement about "his life", which was designed very freely. When he has to see that his new friends go home to their wives one by one while playing dice, he realizes for the first time that there can be joys in marital fidelity. To make matters worse, his advances to a woman, his innkeeper, are unsuccessful for the first time. The first self-doubts grow, especially since the next "conquest" that he flirts at from the window only sees him as a father figure. When a woman digs for him who belongs to his generation, but who is far behind her prime, and tries to make a marriage with her palatable to him, don Juan escapes headlong.

After six long years back home, rehearsals for the stage version of his own biography have begun at the Teatro Comico. First don Juan visits his former lover Antonita, who experiences the horror of her life when she sees the man who was believed to be dead. But then she claims not to recognize him. When Juan tries to convince her of himself with a passionate kiss, she turns away in disgust: he kisses much worse than don Juan. On the day the play is presented, the aged heartbreaker storms onto the stage and breaks off the play on the grounds that only nonsense is being shown here. When he also claims that he is the real Don Juan, he earns only scorn and laughter from the audience. He challenges Don Alfredo, who is watching in the box, to a degendual duel, when police officers rushing in and want to drag Juan off the stage. His last hope now rests on his wife Dolores, who is sitting in another box, but she makes fun of pretending that this man is a complete stranger to her. In front of the theater she has Leporello convey a message to "Captain Mariano" that Dolores would like to see him. There is a debate. "Don Mariano" swears that Don Juan is indeed dead and that he only asks her, Dolores, to be allowed to be a good husband to her. At the end she lets down a rope ladder to her bedchamber so that he can finally climb her balcony. Lying in his arms, she says, "Every woman wants don Juan, but only for herself".

Production notes

Don Juan's private life was the last film made by the former silent film star Douglas Fairbanks. It premiered on August 28, 1934. In Germany, it started three months later, in November 1934.

Vincent Korda designed the film structures , the costumes were designed by Oliver Messel . Osmond Borradaile was a simple cameraman under the direction of Georges Périnals , Robert Krasker served as an unnamed camera assistant. Muir Mathieson was the musical director. The Don Juan Serenade was written by Mischa Spoliansky .


The reviews of Fairbanks' swan song were rather mixed:

Andre Sennwald wrote in the New York Times on December 10, 1934 : “[S] omehow The Private Life of Don Juan never lives up to its promise. Chiefly it is interesting for its visual distinction and for its gallery of ravishing ladies. "In Variety it was read:" Technically it has so much in its favor that it's too bad it doesn't promise bo attraction. "

The Movie & Video Guide wrote: "Liveless costumer with aging Fairbanks in title role, pursuing a bevy of beauties in his final film." Halliwell's Film Guide characterized the film as follows: "Lacklustre frolic by an overage star through dismal sets."

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Illustrated Film-Kurier No. 2230.
  2. ^ The Private Life of Don Juan in New York Times
  3. Translation: “Somehow The Private Life of Don Juan never manages to keep its promise. The whole thing is mainly interesting because of its visual meaning and the number of adorable ladies. "
  4. Translation: "Technically speaking, there is so much that speaks for the film that it's a shame it wasn't a box office hit."
  5. Leonard Maltin : Movie & Video Guide , 1996 edition, p. 1041. Translation: "Lifeless costume film with the aging Fairbanks in the title role, who in his last film follows a group of beauties."
  6. Leslie Halliwell : Halliwell's Film Guide , Seventh Edition, New York 1989, p. 816. Translation: "Dull exuberance of a star that is too old in gloomy scenery."