Letter From An Unknown Woman

Max Ophüls brought his trademark flowing camera style and a taste of the old Vienna to Hollywood for this tragic story of unrequited love.

Time & Tickets

Ophüls left Germany after the rise of the Nazis and made films in France and Italy until he moved to Hollywood in the late 1940s. LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN is perhaps the best known of the four films he made during his Hollywood years. The film is based on a Stefan Zweig novella written in 1922. The film is set in Vienna around 1900. Fifteen-year-old Lisa starts a relationship with her ten-year older neighbour, the concert pianist Stefan. For a short time they are happy, but then Stefan goes on tour. While Lisa is just a faint memory for him, she is pregnant and has a son.

In LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, Ophüls was given the opportunity to recreate the Vienna of 1900 in the Hollywood studios; the old world that he had been forced to leave behind. Universal considered the film ‘too European’ and gave it a limited release. Today, the film is regarded as a classic masterpiece of the melodrama genre.

Max Ophüls, USA, 1948, 86 min. English spoken, Dutch subtitles. With Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians, Marcel Journet.