Bride of the Wind (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Scoop's comments in white:

Hard to say what the worst thing is in this movie. It's kind of a toss-up between the boredom and the lack of credibility. Have to go with the boredom.

First of all, there is no reason to watch it unless you are a history buff, because it has no reason to exist as a film. It tells a few stories in chronological order, and has no apparent point. It's like one of those film strips they show you in high school when the teacher doesn't want to do a lesson plan. OK, she did this, so we'll show that. Then she did this, so we'll show that. 


I have a feeling it isn't very good history, either. I don't know much about Alma Mahler, other than that she was the wife or mistress to pretty much every important man to pass through Vienna for about a 20 year period at the beginning of the 20th century. In this film, however, her words are exceptionally tedious, she shows no passion, she rarely smiles, she whines a lot, and she looks OK but not spectacular. So why did all those great minds and famous artists want to be with her? If you watch the movie you can only assume it was because she was easy, and nobody else was easy in a Catholic country at the turn of the century, so she was the only chance in town to get laid without engaging a prostitute.

I have to guess that the real Alma had to have something far more than that goin' for her: incredible looks, penetrating intellect, boldness, a brilliant wit, fiery passion -  maybe a combination of those elements - but something. Something to make all those great men want her to share their lives and their beds. 


Sarah Wynter shows her breasts in a couple of scenes, and there is a brief full-frontal conveniently blocked by a strategically-placed candle.

Tom Lehrer was the Mark Russell of his day, except he was much more intellectual, much funnier, and had more edge. Imagine if Dennis Miller wrote Mark Russell's songs, and you'll have the general idea. Dr. Lehrer's fans have never stopped missing him since he gave up his silly songs some thirty years ago in order to become a full-time mathematician. He was da man among university swells when I was just starting college. One of my roommates wanted to be Tom Lehrer. (He did manage to write one song in which he rhymed "use ya" with "homoousia".) 

Here's a link to lots o' Lehrer stuff.  There won't be any math questions, but I recommend his most famous song "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park". If you're Catholic, the "Vatican Rag" will kill you, either with laughter or outrage.

Lehrer wrote one of his typically arcane songs about Alma Mahler.

The loveliest girl in Vienna
Was Alma, the smartest as well
Once you picked her up on your antenna
You'd never be free of her spell

Her lovers were many and varied
From the day she began her beguine
There were three famous ones whom she married
And God knows how many between

Alma, tell us
All modern women are jealous
Which of your magical wands
Got you Gustav and Walter and Franz

The first one she married was Mahler
Whose buddies all knew him as Gustav
And each time he saw her he'd holler
"Ach, that is the fräulein I moost hav"
Their marriage, however, was murder
He'd scream to the heavens above
"I'm writing 'Das Lied von der Erde'
And she only wants to make love!"
Alma, tell us
All modern women are jealous
You should have a statue in bronze
For bagging Gustav and Walter and Franz
While married to Gus, she met Gropius
And soon she was swinging with Walter
Gus died, and her tear drops were copious
She cried all the way to the altar
But he would work late at the Bauhaus
And only come home now and then
She said, "What am I running, a chow house
It's time to change partners again"

Alma, tell us
All modern women are jealous
Though you didn't even use Ponds
You got Gustav and Walter and Franz

While married to Walt she'd met Werfel
And he too was caught in her net
He married her, but he was carefel
'Cause Alma was no Bernadette

And that is the story of Alma
Who knew how to receive and to give
The body that reached her embalma
Was one that had known how to live

Alma, tell us
How can they help being jealous
Ducks always envy the swans
Who get Gustav and Walter
You never did falter
With Gustav and Walter and Franz



The real Alma Mahler










Sarah Wynter as Alma Mahler

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1

  • no features

In addition to the aloof, lifeless characterizations in the script, some of the actors in this film seem like amateurs, or maybe they can't understand English. The guy who played Gropius was a good-looking guy, but clueless on his line readings. I think maybe he was an outer space alien sent here to infiltrate us and learn our primitive earthling ways.

If you really have to see this movie because of the subject matter, the movie has some beautiful visuals and Mahler's music, so it makes quite a lovely travelogue. 

Just ignore those boring people who are constantly talking in front of the Viennese landmarks.


Like most people my age, I was a huge fan of Tom Lehrer in the mid 60s, and his song about Alma Mahler made me very curious about exactly what kind of woman managed to have affairs with nearly every important or talented man in Western Europe, and go so far as to marry three of them. I awaited this release anxiously, expecting to finally find out, essentially, how she did it. Scoop reviewed the film the day before I would have, and gave it such a negative review, that I put it aside, and just discovered it covered with dust in my "maybe someday" pile. Unfortunately, Scoopy was completely right. The first major mistake they made was in not answering the question that anyone who knew about Alma had. Rather, they went for a feminist theme that would appeal to a much smaller audience. Even that would have been ok, but they did a very poor job of developing the theme they were going for -- so bad, in fact, that almost nobody even caught it.

As the film opens, Alma is attending a ball, and is berated by her father for going unescorted. Next, she is invited to a dinner, meets Mahler, and the two end up in an affair, and become engaged. Here comes a podium kicker. (A podium kicker is an important lecture point. Military instructors kick the podium to wake up the class when they are about to say something that will be on a test).  Mahler requires that she give up her music before he will marry her. She does this grudgingly. Then, he ignores her as a woman in favor of his music. They lose a daughter, she goes to a spa, and (podium kicker) has an affair with Walter Gropius, who is attentive and appreciative. After Mahler dies, she has an affair with artist Oskar Kokoschka, who is possessive and tries to control her. When he is lost in battle, she marries Gropius, but he also stifles her, and is boring as well. She ends up with poet and author Franz Werfel, who not only loves her without "owning" her, but encourages her to start composing again. As the film ends, (podium kicker) she is in the audience where one of her works is being performed, and is jubilant and ecstatic with Werfel by her side.

And there we have the theme. They were trying to show a liberated woman who was looking for emotional, sexual and artistic fulfillment and lived at a time when women were a possession of their husbands, and had no right to have such expectations. While, even properly done, this would be a disappointment, and far less interesting than the "how did she do it" story, it could have still been a tolerable film, but it was badly scripted, poorly acted, the Austrian accents were awful, and Alma was not at all likeable as portrayed.  She was the sort of character that couldn't have gotten laid in the boys locker room of a high school stark naked. I will give them points for locations, some of the sets, and the score, but this film is best when none of the performers are visible, and there is no dialogue.

The Critics Vote

  • Ebert 0.5/4

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.9/10
  • With their dollars ... it was almost a complete write off. Produced for $12 million dollars, it grossed a few hundred thousand, never reaching more than 42 screens.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Scoop says, "this film is a D. If the road to hell is truly paved with good intentions, the film canisters from this movie should be used on the next resurfacing". Tuna says, "This film is an E, and there is still room for a good film about Alma"

Return to the Movie House home page