This sumptuous historical romantic melodrama afforded Alain Delon his first major acting
role in what was to become an extraordinarily successful film career. Here, the
iconic actor is paired with Romy Schneider, a young Austrian actress who was already a
star in Germany (thanks to the Sissi series of films) and who hoped to make a name for
herself in France. The film was directed by Pierre Gaspard-Huit and is a faithful
adaptation of a popular play by Arthur Schnitzler.
With its luxurious sets and costumes, Christine
compares favourably with similar, larger budget Hollywood productions of the period,
colourful to the point of garish yet beautifully staged and photographed.
The theatrical design and slightly saccharine dialogue take away some of the film's emotional
impact, and the tragic ending is a little too predictable, yet, for all that, it is an
enjoyable and stylish piece of romantic fantasy. Both Delon and Schneider turn in
an impressive performance - as do many of the supporting cast (Micheline Presle, Fernand
Ledoux, Jean-Claude Brialy) - although it is Romy Schneider who dominates the film, captivating
with her seeming fragility and childlike innocence, to say nothing of her unparalleled
The sentimentally minded will be pleased to learn that, in the course
of making this film, its stars Alain Delon and Romy Schenider fell in love and, for the
next few years, lived what appeared to the outside world to be the perfect Happy Ever
After romance. After their separation, the two actors remained on good terms and
would subsequently work together on two high-profile films: Jacques Deray's slick thriller
(1969) and Joseph Losey's political thriller
The Assassination of Trotsky
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Vienna, 1906. For some time, Franz Lobheiner, a lieutenant in the Austrian
army, has been having a secret love affair with Lena, the wife of Baron Eggersdorf...