YOU WILL BE MISSED!!
Quotes By Maria Schell
I like Americans. They always make an effort when they meet you.
They want to be liked and to like you; it is always easy to be with them.
Peace is when time doesn't matter as it passes by.
"If there were one city I should pick to live in, it would be New York. It
is a city where I walk down the street and feel anything is possible."
I have come finally to a simple philosophy of work.
I enjoy what I do and do the best I can. That is enough.
"I love the United States, but I see here everything is measured by success,
by how much money it makes, not the satisfaction to the individual."
New documentary My Sister Maria
Most people know Maximilian Schell from Judgement at Nuremberg, The Chosen, The Odessa File and even The Black Hole and Deep Impact. Fewer know Maximilian Schell the director. Though his latest film isn’t a suspense thriller or sci-fi action epic, I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to meet this legend.
My Sister Maria is Schell’s documentary about Maria Schell. It mixes elements like conversations with Max and Maria, filmed re-enactments of events from her life, footage from films of both Schells and more obscure techniques more akin to the art cinema. It’s not Michael Moore and it’s not an EPK. This is Maximilian Schell’s style.
Was it difficult to convince your sister to be the subject of a documentary? No, not at all.
She knows all my movies. Three were nominated for an Academy Award, so she felt safe. And in reality, I don't think it’s a real documentary. It’s more a story of her life. It’s a story of survival. It’s a story of the time in which she lived. The story of success and failure. It has a lot of different aspects.
Why did you decide to stage dramatic footage? I knew certain happenings in her life which I thought were worth telling the story about. And the people who appear in the film are the people who also appeared in her life, except that when it happened, we did not have a camera.
So why is documentary the category we like to put it in? Because there is no other category. People like to put things into a certain closet. And [my previous “documentary”] Marlene already, it’s also not a documentary. Of course it uses documentary footage, but in reality it’s a duel between two persons talking about her life and the weaknesses and strength. And finally she shouts at me. It’s a very dramatic movie. And with Maria, it’s the same.
So the young kids were real people who came looking for Maria? All the real people. My daughter, as you know, she’s the one who reads the story to her. The two kids are her friends, the son and daughter of the farmer. The man who calls me in New York does all the work on the farm for us. The policemen are the real ones, the judge is the real one. Almost all the doctors are real doctors. They’re all the real people. Just that when it happened, there was no camera there. The example of the two journalists who came, that’s every month, once. And fans come, hundreds sometimes. Of course, I don't think they should see how Maria lives and how she is. It only destroys [the image].
Do you get approached by fans and journalists like that? Sure.
Do you welcome them? I’m always happy when I’m left alone, but if somebody comes and is nice, then we talk.
Why is a conversation more dramatic than an interview? I just think the word interview, although it is the view between two people exchanged, became a sort of cliché. You ask questions and the other one answers. And a conversation goes further. A conversation goes sometimes into personal things and that’s nicer. You look to each other and you have a different picture, you get into a relationship. Interview usually just remains professional.
Is the style of this film more of a European sensibility? Maybe, but if you look at Sunset Boulevard, it’s not so far away. Even Citizen Kane is not so far away. So I think that I know it’s not so far away. I think there’s a poet who wrote once a tragedy by Shakespeare, a symphony by Beethoven and a thunderstorm are based on the same elements. I think that’s a beautiful line.
But while those films have interesting narrative structures, they don’t mix elements. Yes, that’s why I think Marlene and this is stepping into new ground.
How cathartic was it to make this movie? Was it a chance to work through some issues you both had? I think so. Maybe subconsciously, I didn’t speak much to her the last few weeks before we did the film, because I wanted to be curious and I wanted to be a filmmaker talking to her. And it was very interesting because although I knew a lot of her life, something new came out as well.
What were the most painful memories to revisit? I think the death of my sister, my younger sister.
The happiest? I think one of the funniest moments was when I came to Los Angeles to do The Young Lions, and I went to the Hotel Bel Air and I said, “Can I talk to Maria Schell?” They said, “Who are you?” and I said, “I’m her brother.” So they called my sister and said, “There’s somebody here who says he’s your brother. Is that possible?” She goes, “With Max, everything is possible.”
Did you ever think of doing the film in English? No. I don't think it’s necessary. It could be because it’s only her and me.
Was your sister a mentor to you as an actor? In certain aspects yes but I was more a stage actor. She was more a film actress. And also the camera loved her.
How is Maria doing now? Well, it’s not getting better. It’s about the same. She has difficulties walking. She’s quite old. She shows me always what not to do. I learn from her.
Is she still expected to have several more years? I think you always expect to have a few more years. She’s not unhappy and she never complains. She’s very calm. Sometimes even funny. But she is weak.
How hard was it to find the archival footage? Partially, she had it and partially, we just found it. And partially there were the films. The interesting thing is that I found scenes which I put together which could appeal to almost every woman, or apply to almost every woman after the war. Falling in love, dancing, marrying. So there’s also portrayal of almost every family after the war in Europe which the rarity is that people create those different films.
First love is first love, first marriage is first marriage, disappointment is disappointment. So it all comes together through her story of a woman at that time.
Were there any film clips they wouldn’t let you use? Oh, yes. They were also very expensive. The only really generous one was Spielberg [Deep Impact]. They gave it to me as a gift which I thought was very kind.
When you look back on your films, what do you see? A different person. Sometimes I feel that’s not me. It’s like when you look at old photographs. Do you always recognize yourself or do you think, “Mm, I was different then?” It’s the same thing when you look at old films. Except my own films.
The ones you directed? Yeah. It’s easier.
What is your relationship with Hollywood now? A good one. I admire Hollywood very much. I think sometimes it’s not the good old studio time anymore. And maybe the personalities are not the same but Louis B. Mayer or Goldwyn or Cohen, Warner, they were great personalities.
Are fantasy films a particular interest of yours, since you made so many? That’s a coincidence. I did have fun, for example, in The Black Hole which was very popular among youngsters. I said, “A man who lives for 20 years up in space, he could not be so well dressed.” We were trying to create something. Also, we had scenes where he shows pictures from when he was a child, things like that. And certainly a home sickness for Europe and all that. They cut it all. When I died, I learned all the Einstein formulas. Instead of saying, “Help me, help me,” he just said Einstein’s formula. I thought it was wonderful. The crew applauded. Then they cut it out.
Was it hard to balance Hollywood and Europe? Yes and no. I learned a lot from Hollywood, and that I could also bring a lot from Europe to Hollywood. We should never forget that Hollywood was built by Europeans, and the old Jewish boys from Eastern Europe. So it’s not so different. Except here it’s more power, more energy, younger and also in Europe it’s still not only entertainment. Theater or films are looked at as a moral institution. That’s why maybe they’re so poetic. Here it’s clear entertainment.
What are your fondest memories of old Hollywood? I think my friendship with [Fred] Zinnemann and Orson Welles. And also Billy Wilder.
Do you see yourself in the same status as those legend? I couldn’t say. I just admire. I never know. You just do your work. But I learned a lot from High Noon and from Orson of course. And I think that these films, and I hope and think also my films, like Marlene or like this or The Pedestrian, that they remain somehow as a little piece of art.
When did you decide to be a filmmaker? I never played the right roles, or very rarely got the right roles offered, except on stage. I played Hamlet three times. Then I thought, “Well, then you have to create it yourself.” Then I was always busy writing scripts and when something good came along, I did it. I had to earn a living. But then I also found that it’s maybe more complex. I played piano, I learned a lot about music. Music in this film is a very important part. When she walks through the snow, you hear Bach. History of films, history of my experiences with films, they all go in a film like this. It’s a collage of experiences, memories.
Could you have made a film like this 20-30 years ago, or did you need the time and experience? Well, I did Marlene 15 years ago and that’s in the style. It’s somehow similar and not similar because Marlene was much more aggressive, funny and sad. But I was never interested just to film a story. It was okay. I did once, End of the Game, which was a story by Friedrich Durrenmatt, a mystery detective story. And it’s interesting, but I’m always interested in the story behind the story. I think Pudovkin said once, “You can have a man with no expression, then you cut to food, you cut back to the man without expression and he’s hungry. And if he sees somebody kissing, you cut back and he looks jealous. But it didn’t change.” So what a cut can do is fabulous.
Early on in actor Maximilian Schell’s buoyant, unsettling film about his sister, the actress Maria Schell, paparazzi break into their lovely ancestral lodge in the mountains of southern Austria. Murmuring shameless nothings about how much they admire her work, they snap photos of the helpless 76-year-old woman, one of which will appear the next day in a tabloid — a cruelly exploitive shot that recalled a similar one of Rita Hayworth, ravaged by late-stage Alzheimer’s disease, that appeared years ago in the National Enquirer.
Watching My Sister Maria, whose blithe liberties with documentary form qualify it for the uneasy new sobriquet “nonfiction film,” one worries from scene to scene about whether the movie is a work of experimental art or just another ruthless intrusion into the life of a dying and, to some degree, broken woman. I’m willing to bet that Maximilian fretted over this too, for the film is as tense and fractured, as alienating — and, finally, touching — a work as it undoubtedly ought to be. Encomia don’t come as tender, or as brutally candid, as this reading of what seems, on the face of it, a textbook Sunset Boulevard tale of a young actress who becomes first a European, then a Hollywood, sensation and in turn loses her grip when the contracts dwindle and the tempestuous marriages and love affairs fail. Now we see her slumped in bed, wrinkled hands fluttering over the remote as she compulsively replays videos of her films, or phones in multiple orders of expensive items she sees advertised on one of her 11 televisions. Maria’s memory bank, a doctor (or maybe it’s an actor playing a doctor) explains, has reset itself to the point where she lives in an alternative reality — much as film itself does, as Schell is clearly aware in this re-mapping of his sister’s life, a stylized essay whose visual strategies echo those of his award-winning biopic of Marlene Dietrich. Maria’s past is mulled in montages that juggle old news footage and family photos with clips of her movies, in which she appears as an angelic sufferer opposite Gary Cooper in the 1959 Western The Hanging Tree, whirling in a frantic dance for Yul Brynner in The Brothers Karamazov, or in the German films of her early career as a blue-eyed Teutonic seraph. In one comically appalling exception that suggests the actress has her steely side, she paddles with radiant zeal the bare bum of an unidentified youngster.
Schell has drafted his large family, including young children by his Russian wife Natasha, into a stage production — in which the only truly spontaneous presence is the actress herself — of Maria’s present life. She comes across serene and remarkably lucid as she submits to her brother’s blunt probing of the links between her longing for their cultured, handsome, distant father, her attempted suicide after a lover left her (“I didn’t have enough of him,” she says), and her tenuous relationship with a drug-addicted son. (When Maximilian asks Maria what have been the happiest times of her life, she answers, with heartbreaking vulnerability, “Always the beginning of a love.”) This is fascinating stuff, but one comes away with the queasy feeling that Maximilian, for all his palpable love for his sister, has inherited some of his father’s austere implacability and turned into a doting domestic tyrant. On the advice of her doctor, he alternately coaxes and coerces her into walking up and down an icy path near their home, then shoots her falling flat on her face in the snow.
What adds to the fascination is that Maximilian often seems not fully in charge of his own subterranean yearnings for grandeur. In her declining years, Maria has frittered away her entire fortune and more, and her brother must head off a public auction of her property by selling his art collection. Watching Maria’s dirty laundry get aired, whether in real or stage-managed time, one can’t help wondering what’s in it for Maximilian, who’s not above publicly playing the hero here. Yet his instinctive sense of theater goes to the heart of the dilemma implicit in any intimate documentary — how much is too much, especially when the subject is a blood relative? In a final, aching shot of Maria — a stooped figure gamely shuffling through the snow framed by two white-covered trees — one senses, after all, more homage than rip-off.
MY SISTER MARIA| Directed by MAXIMILIAN SCHELL | Written by SCHELL and GERO VON BOEHM | Produced by SCHELL, DIETER POCHLATKO, MARGIT CHUCHRA and WERNER SCHWEIZER Released by Epo-film| At the Nuart
Actor-director Maximilian Schell’s film "My Sister Maria"
about his older sister, actress Maria Schell takes place at the end of her once
glamorous life. This documentary cum drama focuses on the irony that Maria ends
up living a very small life within the bedroom walls of her Austrian family home
after her former life of wealth and fame.
Born in 1926 Maria Schell was a clear-eyed talented Alpine beauty with 70 European and American movies to her credit, a few which earned her best-actress awards at Cannes and at the Venice Film festival. Some of her most well-known films are "The Brothers Karmozov," "The Hanging Tree" with Gary Cooper, "The Last Bridge," "White Nights," and "Gervaise."
Max Schell intercuts dramatic scenes re-enacted by the real family members with clips from Maria’s movies. The dramatized scenes come off as stilted and hokey at times, like when the fawning paparazzi sneak in to shoot pictures of elderly Maria in her home. The most interesting part of the film was the evocative clips from Maria’s movies which show her talent for singing, dancing, and dramatic performance.
Maria is portrayed as a reclusive old woman who lays in bed watching her old films. She has a problem with compulsive over-spending which renders her destitute, and Max has to sell his Rothko painting to save her. A degenerative brain disorder renders her thinking distorted which culminates in her watching one of her brother’s old disaster films and believing it is real and that the world is ending.
There are a few messages in the film, but they were suggested and left undone, so it’s hard to be sure what the messages were. Max and Maria talked about Maria’s serious suicide attempt. It was interesting to hear how the happiest times in Maria’s life were when she was newly in love and the saddest times were when she was married. This suggested that possibly she had the same emptiness throughout her life but it was just covered by the excitement of her career in the early days.
Some of the footage seemed like self-indulgent name dropping as if Max Schell couldn’t believe how amazing their lives were at one time. At one point the camera pans from one family portrait to another and we learn details about each relative for no apparent reason.
It seems to me that a straight and shorter documentary could have been a lot more powerful than this jumbled mixture. The oddest part of this film was that Max Schell didn’t seem to know how to end it; there were about five times that it seemed certain it was over. It was a relief when it finally was. The value in this film is learning about Maria Schell. But I’m not sure if the pain was worth it.
|Actress Maria Schell, seen in Germany in a March 19, 1991 file photo, died Tuesday, April 26, 2005, in her sleep in the town of Preitenegg, Austria, said Mayor Franz Kogler. Schell, an icon of the German-speaking film world, was the sister of internationally known actor Maximilian Schell. Her best known English language film was the 1958 "Brothers Karamazov." She was 79. (AP Photo/Jockel Finck) Height (pixels): 512 Width (pixels): 341|
|Actress Maria Schell, seen in Germany in a March 19, 1991 file photo, died Tuesday, April 26, 2005, in her sleep in the town of Preitenegg, Austria, said Mayor Franz Kogler. Height (pixels): 512 Width (pixels): 341|
d winning best actress awards
at both the Cannes and Venice film festivals. She was preferred to
Marilyn Monroe as Yul Brynner's co-star for the 1958 film of The
Although blonde, she could not have been more different from Monroe and played a series of intense, soulful individuals that seemed to capture the mood of post-war Europe.
She turned her back on the movie business for much of the 1960s and, although she did make a comeback, she lived her final years as a recluse, watching her old movies on multiple television screens.
Her achievements and her decline were chronicled by her younger brother, the Oscar-winning actor Maximilian Schell, in the acclaimed documentary My Sister Maria (2002).
Schell was born into an artistic family in Vienna in 1926. Her father was a playwright and poet, her mother an actress, and another brother and sister also
became actors. The
family fled to Switzerland to escape the Nazis and she made her film
debut there in 1942.
By the early 1950s, she was appearing regularly in British films. She was Robert Donat's wife in The Magic Box (1951), a Belgian aristocrat who falls for German officer Marius Goring in the tragic wartime romance So Little Time (1952), and Trevor Howard's lover in the Graham Greene adaptation,
The Heart of
the Matter (1953).
But she made a greater international impact in continental films in the mid-fifties. She played a German doctor who is forced to treat Yugoslavian partisans and comes to sympathise with her captors in The Last Bridge (1954).
She was a laundress in nineteenth-century Paris in Gervaise (1956). And she was the mystery girl who catches Marcello Mastroianni's eye in Luchino Visconti's White Nights (1957).
The Brothers Karamazov opened the door to major American roles and she appeared opposite Gary Cooper in the Delmer Daves western The Hanging Tree (1959) and co-starred with Glenn Ford in the remake of Cimarron (1960). After becoming a mother,
she quit movies for several years and by the time she
returned in the late sixties her star appeared to have waned and she
was working largely in European television when she landed a part in
The Odessa File (1974).
Ronnie Neame, who had produced The Magic Box, cast her as the mother of a journalist (Jon Voight),
trail of a former Nazi commandant, and recruited her brother
Maximilian to play the principal villain.
She repeatedly chose projects with Second World War or Nazi themes,
including Voyage of the Damned (1976), about a ship loaded with Jewish refugees no-one wants, and the TV mini-series Inside the Third Reich (1982), in which she played Albert Speer's mother.
She was a member of the ruling council on Superman's home planet of Krypton in the film Superman.
Two marriages both ended in divorce. She is survived by a child from each.
Austrian actress Schell dies, 79
Maria Schell, one of the biggest German-speaking stars who also found fame in Hollywood including a role in Superman, has died aged 79.
Austrian-born Schell was best-known for roles in 1950s films including The Last Bridge and The Hanging Tree, starring opposite Gary Cooper and Orson Welles.
She also appeared in 1978's Superman as Vond-Ah, a Krypton elder.
Her actor brother Maximilian said she was a "great actress", adding: "But most of all, she was a friend."
He said his "irreplaceable" sister had suffered illness for many years without complaint.
Born in Austria in 1926, Schell was one of four children of a Swiss author and an Austrian actress.
Along with her siblings, she spent World War II in Switzerland, where she was cast in her first film role aged 16 in the thriller Steibruch in 1942.
Schell rose to international fame and landed Hollywood roles. In 1958 she starred opposite Yul Brynner in The Brothers Karamazov.
Schell went on to play many film and TV roles but her later years were marked by declining health, financial difficulties and seclusion.
She made her last public appearance at the 2002 premiere of My Sister Maria, brother Maximilian's documentary of her life and work.
Her two marriages ended in divorce, the last one in 1988 after 22 years with Austrian actor and director Veit Relin.
Schell, who is survived by her two children, is reported to have died
on Tuesday at her home in southern Austria, which was also her parents'
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Austrian-born actress Maria Schell, a film idol who captivated German-speaking audiences in the 1950s and starred opposite some of Hollywood's legendary leading men, has died, according to a statement released on Wednesday. Schell was 79.
Schell's brother, the internationally known actor Maximilian Schell, issued a statement from Los Angeles saying that the death of his older sister had left him facing "the hardest and most difficult hours of my life."
"She was a great actress and an extraordinary human being," Schell, 74, said. "But most of all she was a friend. I could trust her completely, and she trusted me completely. ...After the war, when it was hard to be happy, she made a lot of people happy or at least made happiness seem possible."
Born in Austria in 1926, Schell's father was a Swiss author and her mother an Austrian actress.
Along with her brothers and sisters, she spent the war years in Switzerland, where she was cast in her first film role at age 16 in "Steibruch" by director Sigfrit Steiner.
Schell, popular for bringing a youthful radiance to her screen roles, rose to international stardom in the 1950s in films such as "The Last Bridge" (Die Letzte Brucke), and "The Brothers Karamazov" where she played opposite Yul Brynner.
She starred with Gary Cooper in the 1959 Western drama "The Hanging Tree" and appeared with actors such as Glenn Ford, Marcello Mastroianni and Marlon Brando in a career that spanned five decades.
Schell's later years were marked by declining health, financial difficulties and seclusion.
She made her last public appearance at the 2002 premiere of "My Sister Maria," a documentary by Maximilian Schell about his sister's life, career and their own relationship.
Maximilian Schell, in Los Angeles to direct an opera, said he had visited his sister a few days before her death.
"Towards the end of her life, she suffered silently and I never heard her complain. I admire her for that," Schell said in his statement. "Her death might have been for her a salvation. But not for me. She is irreplaceable."
Austrian media reports said Maria Schell died on Tuesday at her home
in southern Austria, which was also her parents' prewar home.
Als "Seelchen" wurde sie berühmt: Die Schauspielerin Maria Schell ist im Alter von 79 Jahren gestorben. Vor allem in den fünfziger und sechziger Jahren feierte die Schweizerin Erfolge im deutschen und internationalen Kino
Austrian-born actress Maria Schell, a film idol who captivated German-speaking audiences in the 1950s and starred opposite some of Hollywood’s legendary leading men, has died, according to a statement released on Wednesday. Schell was 79.
Schell’s brother, the internationally known actor Maximilian Schell, issued a statement from Los Angeles saying that the death of his older sister had left him facing “the hardest and most difficult hours of my life.”
“She was a great actress and an extraordinary human being,” Schell, 74, said. “But most of all she was a friend. I could trust her completely, and she trusted me completely. ...After the war, when it was hard to be happy, she made a lot of people happy or at least made happiness seem possible.”
Born in Austria in 1926, Schell’s father was a Swiss author and her mother an Austrian actress.
Along with her brothers and sisters, she spent the war years in Switzerland, where she was cast in her first film role at age 16 in “Steibruch” by director Sigfrit Steiner.
Schell, popular for bringing a youthful radiance to her screen roles, rose to international stardom in the 1950s in films such as “The Last Bridge” (Die Letzte Brucke), and “The Brothers Karamazov” where she played opposite Yul Brynner.
She starred with Gary Cooper in the 1959 Western drama “The Hanging Tree” and
and appeared with actors such as Glenn Ford, Marcello Mastroianni and Marlon Brando in a career that spanned five decades.
Schell’s later years were marked by declining health, financial difficulties and seclusion.
She made her last public appearance at the 2002 premiere of “My Sister Maria,” a documentary by Maximilian Schell about his sister’s life, career and their own relationship.
Maximilian Schell, in Los Angeles to direct an opera, said he had visited his sister a few days before her death.
“Towards the end of her life, she suffered silently and I never heard her complain. I admire her for that,” Schell said in his statement. “Her death might have been for her a salvation. But not for me. She is irreplaceable.
BUT FOR ME
OLD OR YOUNG,
SHE IS THE WOMAN SO BEAUTIFUL I REMEMBER FOR
THE HANGING TREE AND BEAUTIFUL TILL THE END!
REST IN PEACE!
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