<i>Letter from an Unknown Woman.</i> 1948. USA. Directed by Max Ophuls
  • Letter from an Unknown Woman

    1948. USA. Max Ophuls. 86 min.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1

  • Letter from an Unknown Woman

    1948. USA. Directed by Max Ophuls. Screenplay by Howard Koch. With Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians. Based on a novella by the celebrated writer Stefan Zweig, Letter from an Unknown Woman is a perfect cinematic crystallization of fin-de-siècle Vienna as one of modernity’s mythic birthplaces. A German Jew who had escaped Hitler's tyranny and settled in America in 1942, director Ophuls benefitted from being able to draw on first-hand experience, having worked as an actor and theater director in Vienna in the mid-1920s, not long after Zweig's novella was first published. Joan Fontaine plays Lisa Berndle, the “unknown woman” of the title, whose affections for the charismatic concert pianist Stefan Brand (Louis Jourdan) are fated to go unnoticed. A personal favorite of writer Howard Koch (who also contributed to the screenplay for Casablanca), Letter from an Unknown Woman represents the highpoint of Ophuls’s career in America. It may also be classic Hollywood’s richest example of how “systemic” and individual genius could truly nurture each other. Restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive; courtesy Paramount Pictures. 86 min.

In the Film exhibition Vienna Unveiled: A City in Cinema

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