Die Deutschmeister [A March for the Emperor] (1955)

Die Deutschmeister
Director: Ernst Marischka
Writer: Ernst Marischka
Remake of: Frühjahrsparade (to which Marischka also wrote the script)
Cast: Romy Schneider, Magda Schneider, Siegfried Breuer Jr., Josef Meinrad, Gretl Schörg, Susi Nicoletti, Adrienne Gessner, Hans Moser, Paul Hörbiger, Gunther Philipp, Wolfgang Lukschy, Fritz Imhoff
Seen on: 14.3.2021

After having her fortune told by a parrot, Stanzi (Romy Schneider) knows that she has to come to Vienna to visit her aunt Therese (Magda Schneider) who runs a bakery there. Right when she arrives, Stanzi gets caught up in a ball where she utterly confuses Baron Zorndorf (Gunther Philipp) who thinks her a countess. But the Baron is quickly forgotten when Stanzi meets the young drummer Willy (Siegfried Breuer Jr.) whose head is filled with music. When Stanzi sees an opportunity to help Willy by contacting the Kaiser (Paul Hörbiger) on his behalf, she takes it, even if that spells embarrassment for her aunt and the court counselor Hofwirth (Josef Meinrad) who is trying to court Therese.

Die Deutschmeister is a film that basically consists entirely of kitsch and is seasoned with a couple of charming characters. If you’re looking for Monarchy nostalgia and an intense dose of sugar, this is the film to turn to.

The film poster showing Stanzi (Romy Schneider) in the Prater with her date Willy (Siegfried Breuer Jr.).
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Sissi – Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin [Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress] (1957)

Sissi – Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin
Director: Ernst Marischka
Writer: Ernst Marischka
Sequel to: Sissi, Sissi – Die junge Kaiserin
Cast: Romy Schneider, Karlheinz Böhm, Magda Schneider, Gustav Knuth, Uta Franz, Vilma Degischer, Josef Meinrad, Walther Reyer, Senta Wengraf
Seen on: 25.5.2019

Sissi (Romy Schneider) has decided to distance herself from the court in Vienna. She spends most of her time in Hungary where rumors abound that she is having an affair with Count Andrassy (Walther Reyer). When Franz Josef (Karlheinz Böhm) comes to get her, he finds that Sissi is already on her way back to him. Things should be good for them again, if it weren’t for a mysterious pain that Sissi keeps experiencing.

Sissi – Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin was probably the weakest of the trilogy, although the difference in quality between it and the second film barely exists. In any case, I’m pretty glad that I have seen all three of the films now and have no need for more.

The film poster showing Sissi (Romy Schneider) wearing a crown.
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Sissi – Die junge Kaiserin [Sissi: The Young Empress] (1956)

Sissi – Die junge Kaiserin
Director: Ernst Marischka
Writer: Ernst Marischka
Sequel to: Sissi
Cast: Romy Schneider, Karlheinz Böhm, Magda Schneider, Gustav Knuth, Vilma Degischer, Josef Meinrad, Walther Reyer, Senta Wengraf
Seen on: 24.5.2019

Sissi (Romy Schneider) and Franz Josef (Karlheinz Böhm) are married now and Sissi is trying to adjust to life as an Empress. But neither her wild spirit, nor her overbearing mother-in-law, Archduchess Sophie (Vilma Degischer) makes this particularly easy for her. Especially when Sophie tries to take Sissi’s daughter away from her. That there are tensions between Austria and Hungary that put Franz Josef under a lot of pressure doesn’t help either. Sissi has a great love for Hungary and intervenes on their behalf, especially for the passionate Count Andrassy (Walther Reyer) who led the rebellion.

After seeing the first Sissi movie, I felt that I needed a break with the movies because watching the film was a bit like being on drugs. I hadn’t planned to make it a three year break, but shit happens. In any case, Sissi – Die junge Kaiserin dials things up even more and worked a little less for it. But I’d still say that the films are worth watching, just for having seen them.

The film poster showing a close-up of Sissi (Romy Schneider) as well as smaller shots of her on a horse, in Hungary and with Franz Josef (Karlheinz Böhm).
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3 Tage in Quiberon [3 Days in Quiberon] (2018)

3 Tage in Quiberon
Director: Emily Atef
Writer: Emily Atef
Cast: Marie Bäumer, Birgit Minichmayr, Charly Hübner, Robert Gwisdek, Denis Lavant, Vicky Krieps
Seen on: 25.4.2018

Romy Schneider (Marie Bäumer) has withdrawn to a spa hotel slash rehab center to attempt to get her life under control again. Her friend Hilde (Birgit Minichmayr) comes to visit and support her, as she always does. Joining them are two journalists from the STERN magazine, Robert (Charly Hübner) and Michael (Robert Gwisdek) who want to interview Romy. Over the course of three days, they try to get past the surface while Hilde tries to shield Romy from their invasive questions.

3 Tage in Quiberon has an amazing cast and a good story, but I nevertheless had trouble staying with the film sometimes. Still, I did get the sense that those three days were a very special event.

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Sissi (1955)

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

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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Die Halbzarte [Eva] (1959)

Die Halbzarte
Director: Rolf Thiele
Writer: Hans Jacoby
Cast: Romy Schneider, Carlos Thompson, Magda Schneider, Josef Meinrad, Rudolf Forster, Erni Mangold, Helmuth Lohner, Gertraud Jesserer, Alfred Costas
Seen on: 20.2.2016

Nicole (Romy Schneider) comes from an artistic family. Her father (Josef Meinrad) writes novels, her mother (Magda Schneider) makes music, her sister (Gertraud Jesserer) draws, her brother (Alfred Costas) could be in a circus and Nicole herself dreams of being a poet. But talented as they all very well are, they aren’t exactly successful with their arts or rich. After a scandal surrounding a young girl who wrote a tell-all book on her sexcapades, Nicole hatches a plan: she anonymously writes a play of her – completely invented – sexual exploits. The play is immensely successful, even drawing in Broadway  producer Mr Dott (Carlos Thompson) who wants to bring the play to the US – but only on the condition that he gets to meet its author.

Die Halbzarte is the Austrian attempt at making a screwball comedy 10 years after Hollywood was done with them and failing hugely at it. But there is something to be said, at least, for the production design of the film.

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