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Actress Romy Schneider (March 1956)
Romy Schneider (born Rosemarie Magdalena Albach) made her acting debut at the age of fifteen in the 1953 film Wenn der weiße Flieder wieder blüht [When the White Lilacs Bloom Again]. She went on to become one of the first great stars of 1950s cinema in West Germany. Schneider played the young Queen Victoria in The Story of Vicky (1954), which marked the start of her collaboration with director Ernst Marischka, with whom she worked on both Die Deutschmeister (1955) and the most important film of her life and career: Sissi (1955). Playing opposite Karlheinz Böhm (Emperor Franz Joseph), Schneider presented a rather simplistic interpretation of the Austrian empress, one purged of inner conflict. This did not change in the sequels Sissi – The Young Empress (1957) or Sissi – The Fateful Years of an Empress (1957). The fact that Schneider was so strongly identified in Germany and Austria with the role of Sissi kept her from being able to establish herself there as a serious character actress. It was only in France, where she made films with Jacques Deray, Claude Sautet, Orson Welles, and Luchino Visconti, that she was recognized as a serious artist and international star.