Letter From an Unknown Woman

This 1948 film is, for my money, one of the all-time great romantic tearjerkers. Lush and romantic, Letter From an Unknown Woman may be very European in style, but was actually made by director Max Ophuls while he was in Hollywood.

It stars  Joan Fontaine – an actress whose drippiness is normally downright annoying (Rebecca, anyone?) – gives a moving performance as Lisa, a young woman who has been obsessively in love with a suave cad of a concert pianist since she was a girl living in the same apartment block. He has only been aware of her existence for a fraction of the time that she has loved him, and their one encounter has dramatic consequences.

It’s easy to feel for Fontaine in this movie. Not only does she capture perfectly the young Lisa’s all-consuming, blind fixation with her neighbour but we can share it – after all, the  object of her obsession is played by Louis Jourdan, who seldom looked more swoonsome.

Sumptuously filmed, against the beautiful backdrops of Vienna recreated by Ophuls, this is a real gem of a film – sophisticated and affecting in a way that it probably wouldn’t have been in the hands of most Hollywood directors at that time.  If ever a film evoked the exquisite agonies of a young girl in love with love, this is it…

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One response to “Letter From an Unknown Woman

  1. Pingback: Adieu Louis Jourdan | A personal guide to classic films ...

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s