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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Sissi: Die Junge Kaiserin (aka Sissi: The Young Empress) (1956)

As the new Empress of Austria, a young girl (Romy Schneider) finds it difficult to adjust to palace life especially when confronted by her daunting mother in law (Vilma Degischer) who attempts to control her. Directed by Ernest Marischka, this is the second entry in the hugely popular (in Germany) SISSI trilogy which began in 1955 with SISSI and ended in 1957 with SISSI: FATEFUL YEARS OF AN EMPRESS. It's a highly romanticized version of the actual Elizabeth of Austria early years as Empress and certainly not to be taken as historically accurate. One can see why the film became so popular. This was the film that made Romy Schneider a star in Germany and while she's still in Sandra Dee mode rather than the international actress she would become in the 1960s, she's absolutely charming. The film benefits from the sumptuous production design of Fritz Juptner-Jonstorff and detailed costume design of Leo Bei and Franz Szivats as well as Bruno Mondi's lush cinematography which takes full advantage of the beautiful Austrian landscapes. I could have done without Josef Meinrad's unfunny comic relief and the film's last 10 minutes which seem to drag on forever. With Karlheinz Bohm (PEEPING TOM) as Franz Joseph I, Magda Schneider and Erich Nikowitz.   

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