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Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress (1957)
"Sissi - Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin" (original title)

 |  Drama, History, Romance  |  1957 (Austria)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 3,230 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 4 critic

The final film in a highly romanticized trilogy about Elisabeth "Sissi" of Austria finds the young empress traveling throughout Europe.

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Title: Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress (1957)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Karlheinz Böhm ...
Magda Schneider ...
Gustav Knuth ...
Uta Franz ...
...
Vilma Degischer ...
Josef Meinrad ...
Senta Wengraf ...
Gräfin Bellegarde
Erich Nikowitz ...
Hans Ziegler ...
Sonia Sorel ...
Henriette Mendel (as Sonja Sorel)
Klaus Knuth ...
Prinz Ludwig
Albert Rueprecht ...
Peter Neusser ...
Graf Batthyani
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Storyline

The young Empress Sissi is staying at the Gödölle Palace in Hungary with her little daughter and some court people. Here she can be herself, liberated from all the strict court rules in Austria. She spends her days with Count Andrassy, riding in the woods. At a ball in his castle he declares his love for her. Because of this Sissi feels forced to break her relationship with him, and moves back to Vienna. It is soon discovered that she is seriously ill in tuberculosis. Dr. Seeburger doesn't think she will survive the winter, but a change of climate might help. After some months on Madeira Sissi's illness is even worse. Her mother, Duchess Ludovika, then decides to go to Madeira to help Sissi recapture the joy of life. When Dr. Seeburger examines Sissy at Corfu some weeks later, he finds her fully recovered. The Austrian ministers suggest that Emperor Franz Joseph should combine his reunion with Sissy with an official visit to Lombardy-Venetia. Austria is much hated there, but needs a ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

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Plot Keywords:

empress | love | visit | italy | doctor | See All (19) »

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Drama | History | Romance

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Details

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Release Date:

1957 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Sissi y su destino  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Ernst Marischka was originally going to make a fourth installation to the trilogy, but actress Romy Schneider refused to play the title character any longer. See more »

Connections

Follows Sissi: The Young Empress (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pure schmaltz but so gorgeous to look at
17 September 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The final film in the Sissi trilogy - The Fateful Years of the Empress -- again stars Romy Schneider as Empress Elisabeth of Austria. These films are beloved by the European public, just as some of the Disney films we saw as children are to us.

As far as history goes, the movies are not very accurate, though they do show real events. Sissi and her husband are portrayed as very much in love, a very romantic couple, although that was not true. Also, for the purposes of this film, their daughter Sophie actually lives, and there aren't any other children. Actually the whole end of this film in Venice, in history, took place much later in Sissi's life, and her son Ludwig was present.

One interesting fact is that, as in the film, Sissi's brother married the actress Henriette Mendel, and she was made a Baroness. Their illegitimate daughter, who appears as a character in the movie, becomes Marie Larish. Marie Larish was the go-between for Elisabeth's son Ludwig and his fiancé Mary. After the Mayerling scandal, when Ludwig shoots Mary and then himself, it was learned that Marie served as go-between, and the family, including her close companion Sissi, completely disowned her.

During the time that Sissi spends in Hungary, there were rumors that Count Andrassy was her lover, but this was never proved. The film is so whitewashed that a liaison would never have occurred to Sissi. Sissi does become very ill -- they suspect tuberculosis -- and is sent to Madeira to recover. However, it is believed that her condition was very much psychosomatic -- she really didn't like being at the palace -- because, unlike in the film, when she arrived in Madeira, she had a miraculous recovery. In the film, she remains ill until her mother arrives and gets her walking, etc.

This film ends with the Emperor and Empress' triumphant appearance in Venice. Marischka planned on doing a fourth film, but Romy Schneider refused, turning down one million Deutschemarks. Schneider would become Elisabeth once more, in 1972, in the film Ludwig, playing the character closer to the real Sissi.

The costumes, the scenery, the pageantry in this film is spectacular. Romy Schneider is fresh and beautiful and luminous as Empress Elisabeth, not at all the dark, anorexic character described in history as time went on.

Sissi's end was tragic, as was Schneider's, but Europeans, so beaten down by war, were in the mood for something beautiful, and they got it with the Sissi films. She is such a beloved character there, like Princess Diana, audiences loved this view of her life.

To be enjoyed as a real feast for the eyes.


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