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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
Romy Schneider is "Sissi" in this 1955 film, the first of a trilogy about Empress Elisabeth of Austria.
Sissi is not someone we are very familiar with in the United States, but in Europe, she enjoys a popularity similar to Princess Diana's. She is everywhere - candy boxes, dolls, you name it.
This first film tells the story of the 15-year-old Sissi and her meeting with the man who would become her husband, Emperor Franz Josef, who was intended to be her sister Helene's husband; however, Josef fell for Sissi instead.
Sissi fortunately lived at a time when there were no tabloids or tell-all books. She was a complicated woman who is seen as a romantic figure. In truth she was either bulimic or anorexic, though the latter appears to be the case, she had psychosomatic illnesses related to being at court - whenever she got away from the court, she recovered. She was incredibly vain, obsessed with her appearance to the extent that she never allowed anyone to paint her after the age of 30.
Sissi also was a free spirit who had difficulty handling the constraints of court. We see in the film that she was raised by a father who was very gemutlichkeit, fun-loving, and he encouraged his children to play and enjoy life. She was responsible for the good relations between Austria and Hungary -- in fact, Sissi is even more idolized in Hungary than in Austria, if that's possible. Her son, Rudolf, was found dead with his lover at Mayerling, a hunting lodge, a story which has been told in film and books often. And her cousin was Mad Prince Ludwig.
This film covers the time up to her marriage, and Romy Schneider is both beautiful and charming in the role. The film is so pretty, with gorgeous scenery and costumes, as well as some beautiful classical music. Schneider went on to play Sissi in the two other films.
These movies are shown in Europe at Christmas.
Sissi has been the subject of a musical and an operetta (that I know of), several plays, two ballets, countless films, TV mini-series, several books, and is the subject of a song. This film is like something Disney would produce, very lovely, and more a fairy tale than the real story.
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