The Romy Schneider mystery: the actress and the woman in 5 moments – Actus Ciné

Rediscover Romy Schneider’s career in 5 milestones, from her mother, also an actress, to her two César Awards for Best Actress.

The romy schneider mystery: the actress and the woman in 5 moments - actus ciné

5- His mother was an actress

Romy Schneider’s mother, Magda Schneideris a German dancer and singer who appeared for the first time in the cinema in 1930 and who experienced the golden age of her career during the 1930s in Germany by filming for Max Ophüls (A love story) or Anatole Litvak (One Night Song).

In 1938, she gave birth to Rosemarie Magdalena Albach, the future Romy Schneider. Close to the regime of the Third Reich, Magda was a Nazi sympathizer, a past that will haunt Romy in her life as in her roles.

The romy schneider mystery: the actress and the woman in 5 moments - actus ciné

Magda in Carmine Gallone’s “Going Gay” (1933)

It was Magda who found Romy her first film role in White Lilacs (1953) when she was only 15 years old. She plays her mother’s daughter there. After several roles in romantic films stamped Heimatfilm (films set in rural areas) or princess (The young years of a queen), mother and daughter play in Sisi (1955), which propelled Romy to stardom. A role that will push her to leave Germany, and to move away from her mother.

4- Sissi, a devouring role

In Sissi, Romy Schneider plays the daughter of Duke Maximilian and Duchess Ludovica of Bavaria, with whom Emperor François-Joseph dit Frantz falls madly in love. The first film is an incredible success, and two other films follow: empress sissi (1956) and Sissi facing her destiny (1957). Between the feature films of this saga, the actress finds a slightly different role in monptibut finds herself locked into the role of the nice Sissi.

The romy schneider mystery: the actress and the woman in 5 moments - actus ciné

Romy as Sissi

She then refuses a million deutsche marks to play in “Sissi 4”. Years later, she would reprise the role in Ludwig: Twilight of the Gods (1973), on the only condition (respected by the director) that the character is finally consistent with historical reality. Sissi then appears cynical there, contrasting with the little princess of the previous trilogy.

After his refusal of a 4th Sissi, Romy takes another radical decision: that of leaving Germany (and his mother) to come and pursue a career in France. A large part of the German public, who saw her as a “country girl”, did not understand her decision and then rejected Romy, who would be forever hurt by it. But they do not know that the reason for his departure to France is not only professional. The actress had an encounter that will mark her life.

3- Alain Delon, chosen from the catalog!

In 1958, Romy Schneider must shoot in Christinaa remake of A Love Story, and reprise her mother’s role in it in 1933. She can choose her partner and, flipping through photos, chooses Alain Delon. Despite the language barrier, the two actors fall in love and Romy leaves to settle in France.

The romy schneider mystery: the actress and the woman in 5 moments - actus ciné
France, New Society of Cinematography (SNC); Italy, Tritone Cinematografica

Alain Delon in The Pool

They will share the poster three times to full sun (1960), Too bad she’s a whore (a play filmed by Visconti1961) and Love at sea* (1962-65), who left after their engagement broke down in 1963. During the 1960s, Romy Schneider moved to the United States and signed a contract at Columbia which allowed her to work with Otto Preminger and Orson Welles , but the machinery of the studios displeases her, and she returns to France.

At the end of the decade, she finds Alain Delon for the sulphurous The swimming pool (1969), which still symbolizes their couple six years after their separation, then The Assassination of Trotsky by Joseph Losey, in 1972.

2- Five films with Claude Sautet

In 1970, Claude Sautet meets Romy in unlikely circumstances, which he told on television in 1978 :

“I knew she was syncing at the Boulogne-Billancourt studios, and I couldn’t find her. And then I see a little person coming out of the bar with glasses chatting with another woman and I say ‘but who is this woman, she is very very alive’ and it was Romy Schneider. (…) It immediately made me want to shoot with her (…)”.

The romy schneider mystery: the actress and the woman in 5 moments - actus ciné

With Michel Piccoli in The Things of Life

They will work together five times, to Things of life (1970), Max and the scrap dealers (1971), Caesar and Rosalie (1972), Mado (1976) and A simple story (1978). Through this collaboration, Romy Schneider shows the full extent of her talent in a relationship of full trust with a director who allows her to play different emotions and complex characters from film to film.

1- Caesarized twice

The few prizes received by Romy Schneider had always been for “the best foreign actress”: the Crystal Star for The trial by Orson Welles and the Victory of French Cinema for Cardinal by Preminger in 1964. More than ten years later, she was finally crowned Best Actress “tout court” for her interpretation in The important thing is to loveofAndrzej Żuławski.

She plays the role of an actress making pornographic films to ensure her survival as well as that of her husband (Jacques Dutronc). She meets a photographer (Fabio Testi) who will try to help her but at the same time turn her life upside down. The film is hailed by critics, as will be the one that will earn him his second statuette: A simple story.

The romy schneider mystery: the actress and the woman in 5 moments - actus ciné

Fabio Testi and Romy

Last collaboration between Schneider and Sautet, the film places Romy in the skin of a divorced woman who finds herself pregnant by her new companion, for whom she no longer has romantic feelings. She chooses to leave him and have an abortion. Sautet proposes a feminist character, embodied by an imperial Romy Schneider. A film to rediscover.

To go further, see our visit to the Romy Schneider exhibition, which was dedicated to her in 2011:

* Romy Schneider’s scene in L’Amour à la mer will be cut during editing.

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