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Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)

8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 6,397 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 49 critic

A pianist about to flee from a duel receives a letter from a woman he cannot remember, who may hold the key to his downfall.

Director:

(as Max Opuls)

Writers:

(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Marcel Journet ...
Johann Stauffer
Art Smith ...
John
Carol Yorke ...
Marie
...
Herr Kastner
John Good ...
Lt. Leopold von Kaltnegger
Leo B. Pessin ...
Stefan Jr.
Erskine Sanford ...
Porter
Otto Waldis ...
Concierge
Sonja Bryden ...
Frau Spitzer
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

letter | pianist | duel | neighbor | 1900s | See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 September 1948 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Brief einer Unbekannten  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Fontaine's favorite movie. See more »

Quotes

Stefan Brand: 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?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Age of Innocence (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Un sospiro
(uncredited)
Music by Franz Liszt
Played on piano by Louis Jourdan (dubbed by Jakob Gimpel)
Also used as main theme in the score
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Such a terrifically melancholy romance
31 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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.


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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