Used to giving his characters a particularly funny and amusing touch, Josef Meinrad was actually perfectly capable of changing tone depending on the situation. And thinking back to the fact that he was originally supposed to become a priest, it is interesting to note that, in the course of his career, the actor actually played the role of the priest no less than twenty-one times.
Compared to The Trapp Family, one almost gets the impression that The Trapp Family in America works almost on autopilot. What was successful in the first film is almost faithfully re-presented here. The music moves, but not as much as it should, and similarly, the numerous flashbacks that refer back to the 1956 feature film come across as excessively contrived.
The Trapp Family, while suffering from an overly famous, spectacular and almost ‘cumbersome’ remake, undoubtedly has a well-defined personality. And despite having – obviously – many similarities with The Sound of Music (especially with regard to some of the dialogue), it turns out to be a little gem to be discovered.
Eva – made by Rolf Thiele in 1959 and the last Austrian film with Romy Schneider – has the feel of a comedy by Vincente Minnelli, by Robert Wise or even by George Cuckor.
It is not surprising that a feature film like 1. April 2000 (a fine fantapolitical satire directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner) was made precisely in 1952, seven years after the end of the world war and only three years before the Austrian State Treaty by which, among other things, the nation’s neutrality was officially proclaimed.
Third chapter of the successful saga directed by Ernst Marischka, Sissi – Fateful Years of an Empress has an even weaker personality than the unconvincing Sissi, the Young Empress. Following step by step the structure of the previous works, the film almost seems to us like a transitional film, especially if we think about the fact that it was supposed to be followed by a fourth feature film of the saga – to whose production Romy Schneider herself was strongly opposed.
In Sissi – The Young Empress, the difficulty of making the film a success is immediately evident, as if Ernst Marischka, living off his previous work, was struggling to pick up the thread of a discourse that had been interrupted at a point when a sequel was not even necessary.
Sissi, directed by Ernst Marischka, is a romantic comedy filmed in a pleasant and elegant way, clearly intended for an international distribution, in order to give the world a lively and joyful image of Austria and of what was, in its time, the Austro-Hungarian Empire.