Release year: 1955
Director: Ernst Marischka
Screenwriter: Ernst Marischka, Marie Blank-Eisman (based on the novel by)
Starring: Romy Schneider, Karlheinz Böhm, Magda Schneider, Gustav Knuth, Vilma Degischer, Uta Franz, Erich Nikowitz, Karl Fochler
Kaiser Franz Joseph (Böhm) is about to marry Princess Helene in Bayern (Franz) but falls head over heels in live with her little sister Elisabeth ‘Sissi’ (Scneider).
Ernst Marischka’s version of the love story between Austrian Kaiser Franz Joseph and his beautiful wife Sissi is a highly romanticized version of the real story, but is makes for a good story. Because Sissi has everything expected from a period piece romantic drama; beautiful scenery, beautiful people and beautiful dresses. The movie is, well, beautiful! Especially Schneider (La mort en direct, 1980), in what became her breakthrough role and the one she forever became associated with, is a revelation as the young Sissi. Charming, untamed and stunning, she perfectly captures the combination of sweet and strength that would steal the heart of most princes in the marrying age. Opposite her the good-looking Böhm (Peeping Tom, 1960) is degraded to stand in the shadow every time she shines on the screen. But they are a dashing couple and suits each other perfectly. Knuth (Heidi, 1965) is charming as the free-spirited Duke and father of Sissi and Degischer (The Cardinal, 1963) perfect as the cold Archduchess and mother of Franz Joseph, but this is and will remain Schneider’s movie in the role of her life, a role with which she captivated the heart of millions.
Magda Schneider who plays Sissi’s mother in the movie, is the real life mother of Romy Schneider.
Sissi was only 15 years old when she married Franz Joseph, not so far from Romy Schneider age, who played Sissi at the age of 17.
Sissi was filmed in some original places the Empress visited, including Schönbrunn Palace and the Kaiservilla in Bad Ischl. The scenes of her youth on Lake Starnberg, however, were actually filmed at picturesque Fuschl Castle (until 1945 in possession of Nazi minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, today a hotel) on Fuschlsee in the Salzkammergut region as Possenhofen Castle was in a poor condition at the time. The wedding celebration was filmed at St. Michael’s Church, Vienna.
If you want to watch the romantic classic yourself, you can do so by clicking the image below: