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"Sissi" is the first part of a trilogy about the Austrian
princess/empress Elisabeth in Bavaria, aka Sissi (Romy Schneider). The
teenage princess lives happily in Bavaria with her parents, Duke Max
(Gustav Knuth) and Duchess Ludovika (Magda Schneider, Romy's real life
mother), and siblings. When Ludovika is invited by her sister,
Archduchess Sophie (Vilma Degischer), to take Helene, Sissi's older
sister, to the Austrian court in Ischl, in order to arrange a royal
engagement for Helene and the young emperor Franz Joseph (Karlheinz
Böhm), Sissi goes along. However, nobody could imagine that Franz would
fall in love with the spontaneous, childish Sissi, instead of the
"Sissi" is nothing more than a naïve, romantic matinée but a very well done romantic matinée! Romy Schneider shines as the young princess, she's the heart of the movie. It's impossible not to fall in love with her gorgeous smile and sweet manners.
Released in the same year as another unforgettable romance ("Picnic", with William Holden, Kim Novak and Rosalind Russell), "Sissi" may not be called a masterpiece. However, I cannot give anything less than a "10" to a movie that makes you feel good and smile even during the hardest times.
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.
A very young and innocent girl marries the powerful ruler of the most powerful empire on earth. Why? Because she loves him dearly. If that is not sweet. And it is also not far from the truth. Of course it helps that she was a little princess - only of Bavaria but of royal blood (I think). Of course everybody loved her - well, she got killed by someone eventually, but that is not in the film and it does not prove anything anyway. If you know Romy Schneider only from her later (mostly French) films do not even try to imagine how beautiful and charming, well sweet she was. She made two sequels. All three films will be valued as the highest art in the million years to come by anyone who can enjoy a fairy tale.
There was a time, about thirty years ago, when Marischka's SISSI
trilogy was considered kitschy by many critics. Fortunately, these
times are gone and again we all can see these beautiful films without
being influenced by the critics and their politics.
I must admit that Sissi has always been one of my favorite movies. Romy Schneider, her acting, gestures and her face are almost identical with real Sissi. Marischka could not make a better choice. However, I heard that this role had such an impact on Romy's life that she was associated with Sissi throughout her career. As a result, some people consider SISSI films the deepest insight into Romy's life. Hasn't she got through the terrible sorrows similarly as empress Elizabeth did?...
Other cast are also very, very good. Magda Schneider, Romy's mother, gives a fine performance as Ludovika, Karlheinz Bohm (Franz Josef) does an excellent job. Vilma Degischer is particularly memorable as a cruel Sophie. Only Gustav Knuth's portrayal of Duke Max is a historical travesty. He was not so much attached to family life...
Another reason why I like these films is the fact that despite its historical inaccuracies (their love did not look like that), these movies are very gentle, show the value of love between a man and a woman and as a result, they can be watched even by small children without harm done to their psyche.
Some say that Sissi is for sentimental girls and old women. This viewpoint is absolutely wrong. I am a 25 year old man and come back to these films with great pleasure and so do a lot of my friends. See it and you will not regret. Make your personal judgments, not being influenced by the unexplained criticism.
I have seen these films over and over again, probably already more than fifty times. This is the first of a series of three Austrian films, produced in 1954 ("Sissi"), 1955 ("Sissi-die junge Kaiserin") and 1956 ("Sissi-Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin"), directed by Ernst Marishka, and are the epitome of total kitsch and enormously campy. I know that these films are almost unknown outside of continental Europe, but still, they are worth seeing! Played by a very young Romy Schneider - a role that stuck to her, much to her chagrin in later years. The trilogy is about the life of the Austrian Empress and Hungarian Queen Elizabeth (1837-1898) - or "Sissi" - in the first years of her marriage to the Austrian Emperor and 'Apostolic' King of Hungary Franz-Joseph I (1830-1916) - played by Karl-Heinz Böhm. Although the writers did fib frightfully with the historical truths (read for those "Elisabeth", the biography written by Brigitte Hamann), still, the sugar sweetness, the crinolines, the music and the grandeur of the scenes is breathtaking. However, my favourite character in the film is "Sissi's" mother-in-law, archduchess Sophie, played very ably by Vilma Degischer. Sophie is portrayed as a complete bitch of a woman (which in reality she was, after she managed to save the Habsburg monarchy single-handedly from the revolutionary mobs in 1848), something Joan Collins would be able to take lessons from... My most favourite scene is the closing scene of the third movie: "E viva la mama!" - where Sissi is reunited with her daughter on Venice's Piazza San Marco. Watch it, and have lots of handkerchiefs ready for use (if you're a closeted romantic like myself, that is!).
I certainly love the Sissi saga :everytime it's broadcast,I find myself
watching for the umpteenth time these three films which the highbrows
despise so much.
I read several biographies of the empress and it's stating the obvious to say it's fictionalized history (the right term would be "fairytaled" history for this first episode strongly recalls Cinderella).Romy Schneider did not think much of her part and she used to approve of Visconti's Elisabeth she played in "Ludwig" (1973).
"Sissi" is pure entertainment ;all the characters are endearing :the colonel provides a good comic relief ,Sophie is a perfect villainess,the witch, ,Ludovica the good fairy,Max the bon vivant,the swarm of children a foretaste of the "sound of music" -the Trapp were Austrian,weren't they?-and the lovers ,Franz and Sissi are as close as fairytale prince and princess as they can be.
I certainly love the Sissi saga.Down with the highbrows!
Maybe because this isn't an american film, there were so few comments and votes, and there isn't a photograph. But this is one of the greatest bavarian classics for all time, and maybe is the sweetest and famous films for all the family of the golden period (forget little women or Gigi. If this movie was made in America maybe today will be even more famous than the wizard of Oz). Even that this movie today is too cursi and all fashion, Romy Schneider beauty and precoz talent still shine (she was 16 when she made SISSI). She had chemistry with her the emperor.the movie has three sequels, Magda Schenider shines in the third part (with an excellent chemistry with her daughter in film and real life), but in this are the "battle scenes" between Sissi and her mother in Law that are grate to see again Too sweet but a classic
A schmaltzy but moving, lushly produced fairy tale which has nothing to do
with the real Elisabeth von Oesterreich, who was, well, a quite complicated
Young Romy Schneider rather sleepwalks thorough the lead but does it well. The pic was enormously successful and Romy quickly became Germany's most popular teenage star, with Heidi Bruehl of 'Immenhof' fame a close second. Though not as beautiful as Christine Kaufmann (shot to fame with the lurid child-in-distress cheapie 'Rosenresli') or as talented as Karin Baal (Germany's reigning bad girl after the runaway success in 'Die Halbstarken') Miss Schneider brought to it all the freshness and sparkle audience had come to expect from Magda Schneider's daughter.
Austria, 19th centutry: the bavarian princess Elisabeth meets the austrian emperor Franz-Josef and of course they fall in love. But Sissi knows that Franz shall get married wth her sister Nene and so she doesn't want to marry Franz-Joseph. Although at the end they get married. This film is really nice and if you like lovestories you'll love it. There are some really funny mistakes in it, e.g. you see a white OPEL Corsa driving around in the background. =) But all in all you can say, it's a good film. Watch it, watch it!! In germany we would say it's a typical HEIMATFILM
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Written and directed by Ernst Marischka, 1950's Austrian Sissi trilogy is charming fairytale about 19th century Bavarian princess Elisabeth or Sissi (Romy Schneider), who became wife of Empress Franz Joseph I (Karlheinz Böhm). Sensuous colours make dresses, sets and landscapes look gorgeous, and if what-really-happened-realism is replaced with what-should-have-been-fairytale, the story is enjoyable... just like fairytale. The films made Schneider a star but type-casted her, too. (Side-note: Sissi's mother was played by her real-life mother, Magda Schneider, who had been part of Hitler's social circle, and Böhm's career was later destroyed by 1960 British horror flick Peeping Tom.) Denying of crap? Great, I prefer roses!
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