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1,253 Ratings

Letter from an Unknown Woman

Directed by Max Ophüls
United States, 1948
Drama, Romance


In Vienna, about 1900, a dashing man arrives at his flat, instructing his manservant that he will leave before morning: the man is Stefan Brand, formerly a concert pianist, planning to leave Vienna to avoid a duel. His servant gives him a letter from an unknown woman, which he reads.

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Letter from an Unknown Woman Directed by Max Ophüls
The movie “Letter From an Unknown Woman” shows Zweig and Ophüls at their best. . . . “Letter From an Unknown Woman” is so beautifully self-contained that, were it not for Ophüls’s choreographed camera movement, it might have been filmed in a snow globe.
December 13, 2017
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Ophuls’s adaptation took the form of shaping his material visually and aurally, expanding what might have been seen as “novelettish” stories into something both grander and more intense, even multi-dimensional. He uses camera movement and perspective to chart the shift in a character’s position and point of view, so that we are both with and outside of them simultaneously.
December 13, 2017
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The subject of “Letter from an Unknown Woman” is the essence of character as it can be discerned from appearances, and Ophüls’s bravura camerawork and decorative sense conjure an exquisitely calibrated romanticism. Like Zweig, Ophüls knew the virtues of the world of yesterday; perhaps even more than Zweig, he also saw the vices that kept him from unmitigated nostalgia.
March 25, 2015
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