Letter From An Unknown Woman (U)

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The Independent Culture

A weepie like they don't make them like anymore.

Max Ophüls shot this 1948 movie in Hollywood, but its bittersweet evocation of late-19th century Vienna still looks steeped in his earlier European work, Liebelei in particular. Joan Fontaine is wonderful as Lisa, progressing from teenage to maturity as she recounts, in a letter, the tale of three brief meetings with a concert pianist (Louis Jourdan). An inveterate womaniser, he has no memory of his seduction of her, and no inkling that she has had a child by him. Her meekness looks almost like masochism by today's standards, but the restraint of Fontaine's playing still cuts to the heart.