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Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)

8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 6,831 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 52 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 ...
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 All (193) »

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

First film produced by Rampart Productions, an independent company formed by Joan Fontaine and her then husband William Dozier. See more »

Quotes

Lisa Berndl: The course of our lives can be changed by such little things. So many passing by, each intent on his own problems. So many faces that one might easily have been lost. I know now that nothing happens by chance. Every moment is measured; every step is counted.
See more »

Connections

Version of Letter from an Unknown Woman (1969) 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

Compare with the source
4 June 2000 | by (Pontiac, Michigan) – See all my reviews

This film grows even more extraordinary when compared with its source, Stefan Zweig's novella of the same name. In the story, Stefan is a writer, not a musician. The film transforms him into a pianist, thereby insuring that his seductive art can work on the audience at the same time as it works on the heroine. This movie gets bigger every time it is viewed. It seems to offer new surprises every time, because of the perfection of its structure and the implicative richness of its mise-en-scene. The echo effects ("Two weeks!") take on fresh meanings, and there is even a good deal of religious symbolism to be found.


24 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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