Scen.: Ernst Marischka. F.: Bruno Mondi. M.: Alfred Srp. Scgf.: Friedrich Jüptner-Jonstorff. Mus.: Anton Profes. Int.: Romy Schneider (Elisabetta di Baviera, detta Sissi), Karlheinz Böhm (Francesco Giuseppe I d’Austria, detto Franz), Magda Schneider (Ludovica di Baviera), Uta Franz (Elena di Baviera), Gustav Knuth (Massimiliano Giuseppe di Baviera), Vilma Degischer (Arciduchessa Sofia), Josef Meinrad (maggiore di gendarmeria Böckl), Erich Nikowitz (Arciduca Francesco Carlo). Prod.: Ernst Marischka per Erma – Filmproduktionsgesellschaft. DCP. COL.
A leading figure in the world of operetta, known for his big-budget film on the life of Queen Victoria, Ernst Marischka revived the myth of the Empress Elisabeth of Austria, with Romy Schneider in the title role. Full-skirted gowns, papier-mâché sets depicting a fantasy empire, and a love story set the scene for Sissi, which in a single film, brought Romy recognition and success throughout Germany. Magda Schneider seized the opportunity of this major shoot to make herself known on the production and took the part of Romy’s mother in the film. So mother and daughter continued in tandem on the big screen. The producer lost no time in repeating that magic formula by offering Romy several other full-length feature films. And behind the scenes, Magda made all the decisions, for this film and those that followed. From the fee on her daughter’s contracts, for which she drove a hard bargain, to the colour of the outfits she should wear in front of the camera or for such and such interview. And also the choice of all her screen partners and which of those she could or could not kiss. All was on the paper. She even demanded a credited part for herself in the films in which her daughter featured. The recipe worked well. Spectators flocked to the cinemas, in Germany and across Europe. A star was born.
Sarah Briand, Romy. Une longue nuit de silence, Fayard, Paris 2019
To the public, I was called Sissi; to the producers, I was the incarnation of the sweet and innocent Imperial Highness. The directors, the critics, my colleagues in Germany, in France, everywhere, only saw me as Sissi. They treated me accordingly… rarely was I offered other roles. I was the only one, it seemed, who knew that I was not Sissi. I had played the role, but I bore no resemblance whatever in real life to this dream-like figure … My words should not be misunderstood, I’m grateful for the success. For the marvellous time spent with the director Ernst Marischka, and his wife, who was like a second mother to me. For the money also, which was the start of my fortune and gave me independence. Despite everything, I didn’t want to be identified with the character. I felt labelled, and nothing is more dangerous for an actress than to wear a label.
Romy Schneider in Moi, Romy. Le Journal de Romy Schneider, Lafon, Paris 1990