Skip to main content

Double Feature: "Letter from an Unknown Woman" and "Liebelei"

Double Feature: "Letter from an Unknown Woman" and "Liebelei"
Letter from an Unknown Woman

Bing Theater
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

The Academy presents a screening series featuring German films from the 1920s and 1930s and films made by the same directors after they emigrated to America. In conjunction with the ongoing exhibition Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s, a partnership between the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and LACMA, we will screen three classics of early German cinema, paired with equally classic Hollywood films.

Also in this series:
F.W. Murnau: Sunrise and The Last Laugh
Ernst Lubitsch: The Shop Around the Corner and The Doll

Join our email list and be the first to hear about new Academy screenings, exhibitions and events.


A New Career in a New Town: Weimar Directors in Berlin and Hollywood

The influential stylist Max Ophüls is renowned for his romantic sensibility and elegant camera movements, and we will be screening two films showcasing his skillful blend of otherworldly romance and tragedy.


In this eternal tearjerker, Joan Fontaine is luminous as her heart aches over the course of decades for playboy concert pianist Louis Jourdan. Growing from wide-eyed teenager to assured adult, she never forgets her unrequited love against tremendous odds. Directing his second American film, Ophüls adapts a novel by Austria’s Stefan Zweig – whose life and writings inspired The Grand Budapest Hotel – while applying the lavish production values of Golden Age Hollywood to recreate the splendors and cognac-doused lifestyles of turn-of-the-century Vienna. Produced by Mercury Theater co-founder John Houseman and shot by Franz Planer (Criss Cross, Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s), this dreamlike melodrama remains the director’s most popular English-language film.

35mm restored print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Restoration funding provided by The Film Foundation.

1948, 86 minutes, black and white, 35mm | Directed by Max Ophuls; written by Howard Koch, based on the novel Brief einer unbekannten by Stefan Zweig and the English-language translation Letter from an Unknown Woman by Eden and Cedar Paul; with Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians, Marcel Journet, Art Smith, Carol Yorke, Howard Freeman.


This tragic love story of a star-crossed romance between young officer Wolfgang Liebeneiner and violinist’s daughter Magda Schneider (mother of Romy) shimmers with Ophüls's unique visual grandeur, luxuriating in the twilight atmosphere of long-gone Vienna and paving the way for the filmmaker's later classics like The Earrings of Madame de… Ophüls's final film before emigrating from pre-War Germany was adapted from a play by Arthur Schnitzler, whose work he would visit again in La Ronde – and whose novel Rhapsody would be brought to the screen six decades later by Ophüls devotee Stanley Kubrick as Eyes Wide Shut. The film proved to be a surprising box office hit in Nazi Germany, despite the fact that Ophüls and Schnitzler were both Jewish.

1933, 88 minutes, black and white, 35mm | Directed by Max Ophuls; written by Hans Wilhelm, Curt Alexander, Ophuls, based on the play by Arthur Schnitzler; with Paul Hörbiger, Magda Schneider, Luise Ullrich, Gustaf Gründgens, Olga Tshechowa, Carl Esmond.


Liebelei - Highlight