The second in a trilogy of movies about Elisabeth "Sissi" of Austria, the film chronicles the married life of the young empress as she tries to adjust to formal and strict life in the palace and an overbearing mother-in-law.
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16 year old princess Elisabeth, 'Sissi', follows her mother and sister Helene to the Austrian court in Ischl, where the engagement between Helene and the young emperor Franz Josef will be announced. But he meets Sissi when she's out fishing and falls in love with her. Sissi also loves Franz Josef but a marriage with him comes with a bonus, his arrogant and headstrong mother. Written by
I know these films are considered by some purported high-brows to be of low popular-art form and saccharine emotions. They have historical inaccuracies and pander to the idea of what should-have-been, rather than perhaps quite what was. But-man oh man-they are extremely well-made and extremely enjoyable. There is nothing wrong with these films on a visceral or visual level.
The production values in the sets and costumes and the magnificent outdoor locales makes these films really spectacular. But the very rich and cohesive performances by the cast are what keep these films alive. Above all Romy Schneider and Vilma Degischer as Sissi and Sofia playing the tension between the young empress and her formidable mother-in-law, are great to watch. Each has their own humanity and, actually, rich human qualities shine through in all of the other characters quite beautifully.
Karl-Heinz Boehm is excellent as the young emperor torn between his love for the fresh and lively Sissi and duty to his by-the-book mother. And Magda Schneider and Gustav Knuth are warm and sympathetic as Sissi's parents.
The restoration, recently performed on these films, has left them looking incredibly beautiful (on par with "Gone With the Wind"). And people are now able to enjoy these films in the U.S., as they have recently been sub-titled in English and given deluxe DVD transfers with bonus features. Apparently there was an assembled version made of all 3 films and dubbed-horribly-into English included in the set. But above all it is great to see them released here with a good translation and anexcellent DVD presentation.
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