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Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 13 September 1948 (Sweden)
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1:36 | Trailer

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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:

Max Ophüls (as Max Opuls)

Writers:

Howard Koch (screenplay), Stefan Zweig (novel)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Joan Fontaine ... Lisa Berndle
Louis Jourdan ... Stefan Brand
Mady Christians ... Frau Berndle
Marcel Journet Marcel Journet ... Johann Stauffer
Art Smith ... John
Carol Yorke Carol Yorke ... Marie
Howard Freeman ... Herr Kastner
John Good John Good ... Lt. Leopold von Kaltnegger
Leo B. Pessin Leo B. Pessin ... Stefan Jr.
Erskine Sanford ... Porter
Otto Waldis ... Concierge
Sonja Bryden Sonja Bryden ... Frau Spitzer
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Storyline

In Vienna in 1900, Stefan Brand must face a duel the following morning. He has no intention of defending his honor however and plans to flee the city when he notices that he has received a letter from someone in his past. A struggling concert pianist at the time he met Lisa Berndle when she was just a teenager living next door. Brand has had many women in his life however and unaware that Lisa is genuinely in love with him, forgets all about her. They meet again but he only vaguely remembers ever having met her. Unknown to him she bears his child and eventually marries a man who knows of her past but loves her very much. When she runs into Brand many years later her love for him resurfaces and she is prepared to abandon her son and husband for him. Tragedy follows. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the love every woman lives for...the love every man would die for!

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 September 1948 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Brief einer Unbekannten See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film, Lisa is at least several years younger than Stefan Brand. In reality, Joan Fontaine is older than Louis Jourdan. See more »

Goofs

While most signs in the movie are written correctly in German, since the movie is set in Austria, parts of them are in English, e.g. Stefan Brand's concert flyer, which says "Concert Program" instead of "Konzertprogramm". See more »

Quotes

Stefan Brand: [When leaving for Milan] Say Stefan, the way that you said it last night.
Lisa Berndl: ...Stefan
Stefan Brand: It's as though you've said it all your life.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Age of Innocence (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

"The Magic Flute'
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Such a terrifically melancholy romance
31 May 2005 | by for_the_agesSee all my reviews

This movie is really great in how it conjures up so much tasteful melodrama through its structure and the unique way in that the main characters spend less time on screen together interacting than they do just being painfully tragic.

I really enjoy the structure of the piece, through the title letter which gives a sense of dated urgency if that makes any sense. We read along with the man who also doesn't not really know the whole story, and so we see through her eyes in a fresh sense his being while discovering the story along with him. It is an interesting way of making the movie. Fontaine is wonderfully vulnerable and believable as a woman who tries and tries and tries and matures and regresses through decades of life. My favorite part of course is the lovely "train ride" through different vistas, its cutesy but also a comment on how their romance is so supercilious to him but everything to her, in a fake box car. Depression may occur after viewing this film.


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