You Know It’s Christmas…

…when “Sissi” airs several times on various stations.

Karlheinz Böhm and Romi Schneider as Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth (Copyright SRF/Kineos)

Every country surely has their perennial holiday favorites. Austria has the much beloved “Sissi — The Young Empress”, about the lively Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria, and how her heart and hand was won by the young Austrian Emperor — inadvertently, since her sister was The Bachelor’s top candidate, until she showed up. The engagement was announced five days later.
It was not the happiest of marriages, and the historical Sissi was really the prototype of Princess Diana in many ways, from the fairy-tale wedding to the separate lives to the eating disorders to her premature death (assassinated at the hands of an anarchist at Lake Geneva.) And Romy Schneider comes with her own tragic future, but here she’s still young and happy and has her whole life before her — much like Judy Garland did when she made “The Wizard of Oz”.

But we forget all of that and admire the lovely Sissi/Romy as she rides sidesaddle, gives her future mother-in-law a proper earful, and dances with the charming Karlheinz Böhm. There were sequels made, and even a 1992 musical which premiered in Vienna. She’s very much a historical icon.

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