In many European countries there is no Christmas possible without showing the three Sissi-films from the 1950s with Romy Schneider as Empress Elisabeth of Austria and Karl-Heinz Böhm as Emperor Franz Joseph on television and many people watch year after year. The overly romantic films Sissi (1955), Sissi – The Young Empress (1956) and Sissi – Fatefull Years of an Empress (1957) were produced by Ernst Marischka in the German language. Nowadays they’re available on DVD with subtitles for anyone interested. Don’t expect anything close to reality, but the films are still lovely to watch.
It was thanks to these Sissi-Films (the Empress was nicknamed Sisi rather than Sissi, but never mind) that in December 1981 we finally got a colour-television. My mother had seen the films in the cinema in the 1950s and now they were finally shown on television again. But we still had a black-white television, so just before Christmas a colour-television was bought and we could watch Sissi in colour. Astonishing! I was 8 years old so of course I admired all the gorgeous dresses the ladies wore and enjoyed the amazing love story. It took me years to find out that the lives of Franz Joseph and Elisabeth in reality had been far from romantic. After we had seen the films my mother shared her old magazine pictures and postcards with me and a few of my friends. I still have them somewhere. I always said that if I would get married, I’d love a Sisi-dress, but probably I really start to become too old for that now.