“By the time you read this letter, I may be dead…” So begins the heartrending missive from Joan Fontaine’s “unknown woman” to Louis Jourdan’s dissolute pianist, its contents—flowing forth in flashbacks—a soul-baring record of a lifetime of unrequited love, brief encounters, and romantic regret. Frame for frame one of the most gorgeous movies ever made, Max Ophüls’s sublime tear-wringer represents a pinnacle of studio-era craftsmanship, from the exquisite evocation of turn-of-the-century Vienna to the indelible score to the expressively gliding camerawork, which summons wellsprings of emotion with every pan, swoop, and dolly. 35mm restored print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Restoration funding provided by The Film Foundation.
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