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The Barefoot Contessa  /  Letter From an Unknown Woman

Letter From an Unknown Woman  (1948)
November 16, 2015 - 7:30 pm
Jonathan Kuntz, UCLA.

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive in cooperation with MGM Studios with funding provided by The Film Foundation and Robert B. Sturm.

The Barefoot Contessa  (1954)

Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz' study of the postwar film industry is an indictment of an empty and destructive system, distilled to the story of one character: Ava Gardner's "Maria," a nightclub dancer from Madrid, coaxed to unhappy movie stardom for her great beauty.  Told in flashbacks, the film charts Maria's hurtling journey into the vortex of fame, a story that gives Gardner perhaps her greatest role.

35mm, color, 128 min.  Production: Figaro, Inc.  Distribution: United Artists.  Producer: Joseph L. Mankiewicz.  Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz.  Screenwriter: Joseph L. Mankiewicz.  Cinematographer: Jack Cardiff.  Editor: William Hornbeck.  Composer: Mario Nascimbene.  With: Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien, Marius Goring, Valentina Cortesa.

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by The Film Foundation.

Letter From an Unknown Woman  (1948)

Director Max Ophüls' second American feature, set in fin-de-siècle Vienna, chronicles a woman's obsession with a charming, womanizing concert pianist who trifles with her, never feeling the love she faithfully bears for him over many years.  Ophüls’ elegant storytelling, shuttling through time via flashbacks, long takes, and intricate narrative and visual repetitions, resulted in one of the most lauded works of his career.

35mm, b/w, 87 min.  Production: Rampart Productions, Inc.  Distribution: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  Director: Max Ophüls.  Based on the novel Brief einer Unbekannten by Stefan Zweig.  Screenwriter: Howard Koch.  Cinematographer: Frank Planer.  Editor: Ted J. Kent.  With: Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians, Marcel Journet, Art Smith.