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Sissi

Screening on Film
Directed by Ernst Marischka.
With Romy Schneider, Karlheinz Böhm, Magda Schneider.
Austria, 1955, 35mm, color, 102 min.
German with English subtitles.

Perhaps the quintessential Heimatfilm, Sissi resembles a kind of mass, popular dream: a Bavarian princess meets, falls in love with, and eventually marries the Austrian emperor Franz Josef. It was the sort of perfect idyll that allowed audiences to forget the strains they faced in reconstructing a country destroyed in World War II. The landscape of the Alps, where the couple meets, is indispensable to the romantic aspects of the story; the sets and costumes at the Vienna court are extravagant; and the marriage scene—the film’s high point—gives way to a marvelous operetta. A large part of the film’s success was due to the luminous beauty of then seventeen-year-old Schneider. Sissi and its two sequels made Schneider the darling of the film-going public.

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Remembering Romy

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After the War/Before the Wall: German Film 1945–1960

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