Letter from an Unknown Woman (U)
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Time Out says
Tue Feb 9 2010In the opening credits of this 1948 old-Hollywood classic, the legendary German director’s name is Americanised as ‘Max Opuls’. Somehow it’s appropriate, because from its painstakingly designed interiors to its sweeping, fluid camerawork, from its overblown score to its devastating central performances, ‘Letter From an Unknown Woman’ is suffused with opulence. But this is no Sternbergian exercise in glamour: in telling of young Viennese dreamer Lisa (Joan Fontaine) and her desire for an unattainable man (Louis Jourdan) and the high-style world he inhabits, Ophüls comes down on the side of the outsider, those of us with our noses pressed up against the glass. So for all its florid melodramatic trappings, this grand, heartbreaking masterpiece resonates with sad, simple truths: just because one can appreciate beauty, that does not make one beautiful, and just because one loves does not mean one is loved.
Author: Tom Huddleston
Fri Feb 12 2010