Production year: 1948
Cert (UK): U
Runtime: 86 mins
Directors: Max Ophuls
Cast: Art Smith, Carol Yorke, Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians, Marcel Journet
Max Ophüls’s 1948 classic Letter from an Unknown Woman provides a luxurious swathe of emotion. Based on a 1922 novella by the Austrian author Stefan Zweig – whose own literary revival is now in full swing – it stars Louis Jourdan as Stefan, a dashing young pianist and boulevardier in turn-of-the-century Vienna. Joan Fontaine is Lisa, the beautiful young innocent who falls passionately in love with Stefan. Are his feelings for her as deep and permanent as hers for him? Fate, with terrible ironies and duplications, takes its course: this gripping and tragic story spans a decade in which Stefan and Lisa leave their youth and their illusions behind them. The action of the film, on the cusp of melodrama, is fashioned to perfection.
Guardian article: Why you should see Max Ophüls’s 1948 classic