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Monday, June 15, 2015

Sissi Trilogy

photograph of Empress Sissi
the day of her coronation as Queen of Hungary
Kaiserin Elisabeth von Österreich
im Krönungsgewand als Königin von Ungarn
Erzsébet királyné
June 8, 1867
photographer: Emil Rabending
scanned by Csanády
(source: wikipedia)
no copyright infringement intended

Romy Schneider in the three movies of Ernst Marishka dedicated to Empress Sissi. Let me put here what dbdumonteil said about Sissi's Trilogy; it's a perfect analysis:

...although nobody sings in these movies, they are closer to operetta than to cinema. Maudlin and syrupy to a fault, they nonetheless retain a kitsch charm. I must confess I love this exponential schmaltz. History is given a rough ride, this is an euphemism, although most of the events that are depicted here did happen: Sissi's brother did marry an actress, a misalliance, and the adorable little girl whom Sissi's mother pampers would later be Marie Larish who would play a despicable prominent part in the Mayerling tragedy. The Hungarian part would occur later in Sissi's life (her son Rudolf was present), and Andrassy's flame was purely fictional.
While watching such candid pictures, listening to lessons in wisdom and kindness, we almost forget that Sissi's fate was in fact a very dark one, and that her husband was still there when WW1 broke out. Agfacolor pictures are delightful and the ending is guaranteed to make the impressionable of two boxes of Kleenex.
Romy Schneider made a volte face after Sissi the third. She turned down a one million marks offer, and despite her mother Magda - who plays her fictional mother and who was the star of Max Ophüls' Liebelei, left for broader horizons: she was to meet Visconti and Welles at the beginning of the sixties. A far cry from Sissi. She played Sissi again in 1972 in Visconti's Ludwig and used to say that the Italian master was the only one who showed Elizabeth as she was.
But Sissi is a dear memory, particularly if you saw it when you were a child. You remember it like some kind of fairy tale in some faraway magic kingdom where every dream can come true. Or something like that

Sissi - Die junge Kaiserin, 1956
Sissi: The Young Empress
(video by blacky bunny)

Sissi - Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin, 1957
Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress
(video by blacky bunny)

(Empress Sissi)

(German and Nordic Cinema)



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