Romy Schneider’s romantic persona constructed through iconic ‘princess’ characters – young Queen Victoria in Victoria in Dover (Ernst Marischka, 1954), and Empress Elizabeth of Austria in the Sissi trilogy (Marischka, 1955-56-57), shows the enduring popularity of fairy tale narratives among German-speaking audiences in the post-war period. What does that particular star image, constructed through her films and her private life, tells us about 1950s Germany and Austria, then engaged in a process of national and cultural identity reconstruction? I will argue that Schneider’s princess star image (encased in romantic costume film) is complexly articulated on a national popular interest in royalty, especially the princess myths linked to Germany’s literary tradition of fairy tale, but also on the young star’s life off-camera echoing the romantic narratives and characters she was playing on screen. Drawing upon work by Jack Zipes (1986), Erica Carter (1997, 2010) and Maria Fritsche (2013), I will examine how Schneider reinstates the fairy tale princess as an important national figure, and speaks to the cultural memory of the era within a complex discourse linked to German romanticism and conceptions of femininity in Germanic nations.
Thursday, 13 October, 5:15 pm. ArtsOne, Hitchcock Cinema (G19).
Refreshments to follow.