In the Paris of the late 19th century, Louise, wife of a general, sells the earrings her husband gave her as a wedding gift: she needs money to cover her debts. The general secretly buys ... See full summary »
Vittorio De Sica
Three stories about the pleasure. The first one is about a man hiding his age behind a mask to keep going to balls and fancying women - pleasure and youth. Then comes the long tale of Mme ... See full summary »
An all-knowing interlocutor guides us through a series of affairs in Vienna, 1900. A soldier meets an eager young lady of the evening. Later he has an affair with a young lady, who becomes ... See full summary »
This symbol-filled story, filmed with sensuous detail and nuance, is set in Austria in the 1920s. While being treated for asthma at a country spa, an American diplomat's lonely 12-year-old ... See full summary »
Klaus Maria Brandauer
In the late 1800's, Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, falls for Sophie Chotek, a Czech countess. He's already a problem to the Crown because of his political ideas; this... See full summary »
In Vienna, about 1900, a dashing man arrives at his flat, instructing his manservant that he will leave before morning: the man is Stefan Brand, formerly a concert pianist, planning to leave Vienna to avoid a duel. His servant gives him a letter from an unknown woman, which he reads. In flashbacks we see the lifelong passion of Lisa Berndle for him: first as a girl who was his neighbor; next as a young woman who, in secret, has his child; then as a mature woman who meets him again and abandons husband and son to be with him. Each time he does not remember who she is or that they have ever met. By morning, he has finished the letter, and her husband awaits satisfaction. Written by
Have you ever shuffled faces like cards, hoping to find one that lies somewhere, just over the edge of your memory? The one you've been waiting for? Well tonight when I first saw you, and then later when I watched you in the dark, it was as though i'd found that one face among all the others. Who are you?
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This movie is really great in how it conjures up so much tasteful melodrama through its structure and the unique way in that the main characters spend less time on screen together interacting than they do just being painfully tragic.
I really enjoy the structure of the piece, through the title letter which gives a sense of dated urgency if that makes any sense. We read along with the man who also doesn't not really know the whole story, and so we see through her eyes in a fresh sense his being while discovering the story along with him. It is an interesting way of making the movie. Fontaine is wonderfully vulnerable and believable as a woman who tries and tries and tries and matures and regresses through decades of life. My favorite part of course is the lovely "train ride" through different vistas, its cutesy but also a comment on how their romance is so supercilious to him but everything to her, in a fake box car. Depression may occur after viewing this film.
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