Letter From An Unknown Woman (1948)

Film Review


Release Date: 28 April, 1948

Studio: Universal

Director: Max Ophüls

Starring: Joan Fontaine, Louis Jordan

Special Notes: TCM Classic Film Festival, 2012

Letter from an Unknown Woman was shown as part of the Legendary Costumes of Travis Banton theme at the 2012 TCM Classic Film Festival. Actress Rose McGowan (Charmed, 1998-2006) introduced the film.


A life-long devotion ends tragically. From childhood Fontaine worships classical pianist Jourdan. In his self-absorption he never notices her. They meet and have a brief love affair, but when he is called away, he forgets her. She marries, and her husband adopts her son. Years later, the pianist meets her again without recognition. Her final letter reveals to him the truth about them both.


Actress Rose McGowan commented on the movie's atmosphere, the way it captured 1800's Vienna and how that added to the feeling of the film. The costume designs of Travis Banton compliment and enhance Fontaine's character at each stage of her life, from teenage wistful innocence through youthful desire to matronly wealth, sophistication and resignation.