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Letter from an Unknown Woman

One of cinema’s most achingly poignant romances, Max Ophüls’ version of Stefan Zweig’s novella is also, despite being shot in a Hollywood studio, one of the great films about fin-de-siècle Vienna. About to leave the city in order ...

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Title: Letter from an Unknown Woman
Genre: Romance, Drama
Cast: Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians, Art Smith, Marcel Journet, Carol Yorke, Howard Freeman
Release Date: 2010-02-12
Production Country: United States
Directed By: Max Ophüls
Film Duration: 86
Production Year: 1948
Distributor: BFI
Official Website: http://www.bfi.org.uk/whatson/bfi_around_the_uk/film_releases/letter_from_an_unknown_woman

Synopsis: One of cinema’s most achingly poignant romances, Max Ophüls’ version of Stefan Zweig’s novella is also, despite being shot in a Hollywood studio, one of the great films about fin-de-siècle Vienna. About to leave the city in order to avoid a duel, concert pianist Stefan Brand receives and reads a letter from a woman he can no longer remember – Ilse, who first nurtured a crush on him as a schoolgirl neighbour and whose later encounters with him were considerably more intimate… Both the flashback structure and Franz Planer’s long, sinuous camera movements trap the lovelorn heroine – Joan Fontaine, magnificent throughout – within a cruel cycle of obsessive longing born of romantic fantasy (in which regard Louis Jourdan’s suave, slightly shallow beauty fits Brand perfectly). A wry meditation on memory, misplaced desire and the options open to women in patriarchal society, the film is at once darkly ironic and deeply moving. – Geoff Andrew

Letter from an Unknown Woman

Title: Letter from an Unknown Woman
Genre: Romance, Drama
Cast: Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians, Art Smith, Marcel Journet, Carol Yorke, Howard Freeman
Release Date: 2010-02-12
Production Country: United States
Directed By: Max Ophüls
Film Duration: 86
Production Year: 1948
Distributor: BFI
Age Limit: 0+
Official Website: http://www.bfi.org.uk/whatson/bfi_around_the_uk/film_releases/letter_from_an_unknown_woman

Synopsis: One of cinema’s most achingly poignant romances, Max Ophüls’ version of Stefan Zweig’s novella is also, despite being shot in a Hollywood studio, one of the great films about fin-de-siècle Vienna. About to leave the city in order to avoid a duel, concert pianist Stefan Brand receives and reads a letter from a woman he can no longer remember – Ilse, who first nurtured a crush on him as a schoolgirl neighbour and whose later encounters with him were considerably more intimate… Both the flashback structure and Franz Planer’s long, sinuous camera movements trap the lovelorn heroine – Joan Fontaine, magnificent throughout – within a cruel cycle of obsessive longing born of romantic fantasy (in which regard Louis Jourdan’s suave, slightly shallow beauty fits Brand perfectly). A wry meditation on memory, misplaced desire and the options open to women in patriarchal society, the film is at once darkly ironic and deeply moving. – Geoff Andrew

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