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Letter From an Unknown Woman [Blu-ray]


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Editorial Reviews

From Max Ophls, the legendary director of The Earrings of Madame de comes this deeply moving, timeless tale of love and obsession. In early 20th century Vienna, Stefan Brand (Louis Jourdan) is in the process of fleeing Vienna on the eve of a duel he wants no part of, however before he can do so, he receives an anonymous Letter From an Unknown Woman. Stefan is deeply moved by what he reads and starts to realize that the letter's author is Lisa Berndl (Joan Fontaine), a young woman he's known, but disregarded for most of his life. Screenplay by Howard Koch (Casablanca) and produced by John Houseman (Sorry, Wrong Number).

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians
  • Directors: Max Ophuls
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 16, 2012
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • ASIN: B008NNSDBY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,226 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

I won't spoil it but it is about a woman who fell deeply in love with a man.
Jazz1152
The superb Max Ophuls has directed a mood piece of substance, one that captures its milieu and time period with perfection.
Charles Reichenthal
Even if u dont understand spanish u will understand the love and longing and waste in this movie.
Lenet Vega

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 68 people found the following review helpful By brad bradford on March 17, 2007
Format: DVD
This is, without question,one of the best films of the 1940's. Though not as well-known among the general public today as some other romantic movies of that time, which was the heyday of what were called 'women's pictures', this intensely romantic, highly moving story will not to fail to touch even the most cynical viewer. Told in the form of narration by means of a letter written to a composer by his most ardent fan of a love he can't even remember, there is not one sappy moment in the entire film. There is a lushness of tone, attention to detail, and carefully modulated depth of feeling that doesen't manipulate the emotions, but combines to create a true sense of the pain being felt by a lovely, forgotten woman. Director Max Ophuls is working at the height of his powers and this is certainly on the scale of his European masterpiece, "The Earrings of Madame de", though completely different in tone. Very sad, highly recommended, and not to be missed by anyone who appreciates quality cinema.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By S. Lopez Ferrer on June 21, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Not the usual tearjeaker of the fourties (see how far from, say, Mildred Pierce, this is). Not the usual women's picture. A deep study of "amour fou" in a very stylish, elegant high melodrama wisely directed by Max Ophuls. That Screen MASTER (with capitals) knew how to confer the film a tasteful sense of the turn-of-century romantic european atmosphere. But its assets are not only limited to screenplay and art direction. Two rather histrionically limited players (Fontaine and Jourdan, who else could be?) are fully potentiated to give their best of their usual screen image. All the traits of the Fontaine's charachter (shyness, demureness) are fully used in this hopeless (as all crazy loves) story of a woman who has her meaning of life in her love for a pianist who ignores her. She is poignant and strangely believable in her longlife obsession. The charms of Jourdan have never been better used than in that film (though he repeated it with much less success in Mme. Bovary). The third player -Vienna-, though just reproduced in stage, acquires a full dimension and integrates completely well into the movie. We can FEEL the city as we have never felt before. A sensible and truly romantic movie for all time.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Charles Reichenthal on October 3, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN remains one of those cinematic masterpieces that has never gotten its rightful due. In Europe, it has been listed, in various cinema circles, as one of the 10 Best of Films. But, here, it has been unjustly ignored, perhaps due to its initial lukewarm public and even critical response. The superb Max Ophuls has directed a mood piece of substance, one that captures its milieu and time period with perfection. Joan Fontaine, who, at her best, was one of the best of American film actresses, here is remarkable, always capturing the changing character tones of a young woman growing into a lovesick woman. Louis Jourdan is impeccable as well.... the rogue, the handsome and dashing man who favors his romantic interludes over his composing acuumen. Everything is right in this film, and its black-and-white photography is expertly reproduced in the VHS version. Music and supporting players (including Mady Christians) add to the piece's effectiveness. It is a treasure of a film, a romantic work that eschews the pitfalls that make some moviegoers avoid love stories. Excellence is paramount.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Melendez on October 13, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Stefan Zweig wrote tales of obsessions (Amok, Royal Game), and this is one of his creations. The problem with obsessions as a theme of literature (an by extension, of movies) is that there is very little room for character development...in fact there is no room for development of any kind. The obsessed are to perish, consumed by their narrow, intense, cravings; thus obsessions lend themselves more to short stories than to novels, and indeed "A letter from an unknown woman" is based on a short story.
I had read the story as a kid, thinking I was as expert on matters of love which, of course, I was not. A few years after reading the story (and after experiencing love) I saw the film "A Letter..." and I was shocked. For one, I understood the story better, and was saddened by it; but in addition I gazed upon Joan Fontaine and became convinced that she was the most beautiful object in the entire Universe. I promptly fell in love with her and started hating Louis Jourdan, the sociopath who could have made her happy and did not. I saw the movie over and over, just to feast my eyes on Joan, and in the hope of a miraculously happy ending (that never took place).
Now, in what seems like a couple of hundred years, I revisited "A Letter..." and it still holds up. It is not as dramatic as when I was full of youth and hope, but the movie still stirs this old codger; and it does so strongly enough to allow me to recommend this dramatic tale, this fine classical film, to all who have not yet seen it.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Silva on August 3, 2004
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I must say that there have been few movies (dramas) which have emotioned me so much as this work of art by master director Max Ophüls (credited as Opuls here)...only films like "Portrait of Jennie" or "Dodsworth"...this was another one-of-a-kind experience for me.

I had read so much about it, that I had to SEE it...so I bought this VHS here, at Amazon.com marketplace sellers, where I've always made great transactions & had very good overall experiences, especially when it comes to obtain, these "out of stock/print", kind of elusive gems.

Joan Fontaine gives what one can easily be, the most wondrous, poetic, performance, she ever gave, including "Rebecca" and "Suspicion"...Here she simply is at her very best, close to perfection...just as Jennifer Jones, gave (IMHO) THE performance of her career in the aforementioned "Portrait of Jennie". She convicingly grows from an "innocent" adolescent who falls deeply in love with an artist (Louis Jourdan), looking him, following him, listening to him, "in hiding", "in the shadows", quietly, living her life only "for/because of him"... although he's unaware of that. This obsession of hers with this man, reaches to a point where nothing makes sense to her without him. It's platonic love & adoration, taken to extreme limits, almost to the boundaries of insanity, yet so disarmingly naive and true!

Louis Jourdan is equally effective, as the debonair, devil-make-care, playboy, man of the world, pianist, who realizes too late, what has been going on.

Wonderful art direction, sets, mood, atmosphere, cinematography, narration...excellent "raccontos/flashbacks"...
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Letter From an Unknown Woman [Blu-ray]
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