Sissi (1955)

Sissi
Director: Ernst Marischka
Writer: Ernst Marischka
Cast: Romy Schneider, Karlheinz Böhm, Magda Schneider, Uta Franz, Gustav Knuth, Vilma Degischer, Josef Meinrad, Peter Weck
Seen on: 7.6.2016

Plot:
Sissi (Romy Schneider) is a wild girl who loves nothing more than to go hunting with her father, Duke Max (Gustav Knuth). That’s why her mother, Duchess Ludovika (Magda Schneider) usually tries to keep her away from society. But when Ludovika and her daughter Helene (Uta Franz) get invited to Bad Ischl to celebrate the birthday of Emperor Franz Josef (Karlheinz Böhm), they decide to take Sissi along as cover – so that nobody suspects that Ludovika and Franz Josef’s mother Archduchess Sophie (Vilma Degischer) have already long planned to announce the Emperor’s engagement to Helene there. But things don’t go quite as planned.

Despite being Austrian myself and having what feels like half of the Austrian economy depend on the Sissi cult, I have never seen the movies. After having seen the first one, I don’t know how much of a coherent comment I can make about it, because mostly I just want to say, “holy shit.”

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The Night of the Hunter (1955)

The Night of the Hunter
Director: Charles Laughton
Writer: James Agee
Based on: Davis Grubb‘s novel
Cast: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Peter Graves, Billy Chapin, Gloria Castillo, Lillian Gish, James Gleason

Plot:
Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) is a religious fanatic serial killer who marries woman after woman, who he then murders for their inheritance. When he is arrested for stealing a car, he becomes the cell mate of Ben Harper (Peter Graves) who is on death row for robbing a bank. Harry tries to get Ben to reveal where he hid the money from the robbery, but only gleans that Ben’s kids John (Billy Chapin) and Pearl (Gloria Castillo) know. So when Ben is executed and Harry released, he goes to find and woo Ben’s widow Willa (Shelley Winters) and find that money.

I don’t really get why this movie is such a classic. I mean, yes, Robert Mitchum is absolutely fantastic in it – charismatic, creepy yet attractive and completely insane. But other than that it is very poorly executed, riddled with mistakes and often veers into the ridiculous.

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Romeo i Dzhulyetta [Romeo and Juliet] (1955) + Vienna Symphony

Romeo i Dzhulyetta is a ballet movie by Lev Arnshtam and Leonid Lavrovsky, based on Shakespeare‘s play and starring Galina Ulanova and Yuri Zhdanov. It was shown in the Konzerthaus with live music by Sergei Prokofiev played by the Vienna Symphony under Frank Strobel as part of ther Film and Music Cylce. [Here’s my review of the other shows in the cycle.]

Plot:
[I think the story is well known, but here the short version.]
The Montagues and the Capulets are feuding. But when Romeo Montague (Yuri Zhdanov) falls in love with Juliet Capulet (Galina Ulanova) things could work out for the better. Unfortunately, they don’t and it all goes to hell.

The movie is very oldfashioned but I liked it: The play was shortened and they took good care to do it in the right places. The dancers were great and Prokofiev’s music is absolutely wonderful.

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