Cast & Crew
In the 1850's, Archduchess Sophie of Austria selects the Bavarian Princess Helene to wed her son, Emperor Franz Josef. But the emperor falls in love with Helene's uninhibited younger sister Elisabeth, nicknamed Sissi, whom he at first mistakes for a country girl. At a reception to announce his engagement, they meet again, and Franz Josef announces that he will marry Sissi. Following their honeymoon, Sissi takes her newly acquired responsibilities very seriously but breaks one tradition after another, violating the rigid protocol established by the archduchess. Franz Josef, however, delights in her openness and simplicity, which eventually prove instrumental in winning over the restless Hungarian nation. Hungary's Count Andrassy confesses his love for Sissi, but although she is attracted to him, she remains faithful to her husband, and they enjoy a second honeymoon in the Alps. She becomes ill with tuberculosis, however, and is sent to Spain for treatment. Under the devoted care of her mother, Duchess Ludovika, she miraculously recovers and is reunited with Franz Josef. Together they visit Italy, where they receive a hostile reception, but Sissi's wisdom and charm again convert the crowds into friends. Their mission accomplished, the royal couple returns to their native Austria.
Egon Von Jordan
Franca Parisi Strahl
Forever My Love
The star was Romy Schneider, who had made her mark at sixteen by playing Queen Victoria of England in The Story of Vickie (1954), released in the United States in 1958. Ernst Marischka had directed Schneider in The Story of Vickie and was so impressed with her performance that he cast her in the role of Sissi.
All of the screenplays for Forever My Love were based on the 1932 Viennese operetta Sissy, with music and libretto by Ernst Marischka, his brother, Hubert, and the great composer and violinist Fritz Kreisler. It was a frothy, flamboyant costume drama set in the Austria of the 1850s. Archduchess Sophie (Vilma Degischer) has decided that her son, the Emperor Franz Josef (Karlheinz Böhm), will marry Princess Helene of Bavaria (Uta Franz). Franz Josef meets Sissi and mistakes her for a country girl. Although pledged to Helene, Franz Josef falls in love with Sissi, and when the time comes to announce his marriage, he chooses her, instead. After the marriage, Sissi tries her best to please everyone but breaks traditions and protocols with her open manner, which helps to endear her to her new country. Also in the cast were Romy Schneider's mother, the famed German actress Magda Schneider as Sissi's mother, the Duchess Ludovika, and Gustav Knuth as Duke Max of Bavaria.
The Austrian production company Wien-Film GmbH made the trilogy, with distribution in the United States by Paramount Pictures. Marischka also served as director and producer, with music by Burt Bacharach (who wrote the title track) and Anton Profes. Forever My Love debuted in New York on March 27, 1962.
The film was total escapist fare for Austria and Germany, still recovering from the defeat and destruction of World War II. Audiences wanted to look back with rose-colored glasses at a more successful past and these films became the most successful in the Austrian film industry for decades. Today, they continue to play on television, often as an event on Christmas. The role of Sissi made Romy Schneider an international star, but it became an albatross around her neck. Schneider's public persona became so identified with the sweet, virginal role that the press and public began to refer to her by that name. Her handlers, including her mother, encouraged the association, with Magda Schneider telling the press, "This child has not yet been in touch with the filth of the world." By the time she had completed the third film, Romy Schneider had grown tired of the role, even turning down 1million Deutschmark to make a fourth film, which shocked and disappointed audiences. She would later revisit the role in a more realistic film, Luchino Visconti's Ludwig (1972).
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By Lorraine LoBianco
Forever My Love
Copyright length: 115 min. Location scenes filmed in the Alps, the French Riviera, Tirol, Schönbrunn, and elsewhere in Austria and Italy. The film is a compilation of footage from three films: Sissi, released in Austria in 1956 at 102 min; Sissi-die junge Kaiserin, released in 1957 at 106 min; and Sissi-Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin, released in 1958 at 109 min. Registered for copyright by Aspa A. G.