As for the Archduchess Sophie, Elizabeth's mother-in-law, I do respect her as a formidable princess who saved the Habsburg dynasty. Sophie never asked anyone to make a sacrifice that she would not have asked of herself, which made her a indefatigable character. Her treatment of Elizabeth reminds me of how St. Louis' mother Queen Blanche treated her daughter-in-law Queen Marguerite. In order to maintain her influence on Franz Joseph she deliberately drove a wedge between him and the wife whom he loved so passionately. The only way Elizabeth felt that she could deal with such interference was to take flight.
The film takes liberties with history in that when the 1867 Hungarian coronation is shown Franz Joseph and Elizabeth only have one child, when in reality that had already had three. The oldest child's death is not shown, which greatly contributed to Sissi's collapse. In fact, her first bout with "lung disease" is not included until the final part of the trilogy. Nevertheless, the coronation scenes are intriguing for the Hungarian rituals and customs that are depicted. It is interesting to me that Elizabeth was so intensely attracted to the land which was the birthplace of her patroness St. Elizabeth of Hungary, another princess who married young and had to deal with difficult in-laws.
For those who enjoy stunning cinematic imagery, The Young Empress rivals the first film for lavish sets and costumes, and breathtaking vistas of the alps. The ballroom scene, in which Franz Joseph and Elizabeth swirl to Strauss waltzes, is worth the price of admission in itself. Most of all, Romy Schneider's unforgettable characterization of Elizabeth in all her enchantment and tragic sorrow brings to life a woman who was a legend even when she walked upon the earth.
|Elizabeth, Empress of Austria|
|King and Queen of Hungary|