Late last month, indie film studio Film Movement re-issued the classic 1962 romantic drama Forever My Love on DVD through its classic movies’ arm, Film Movement Classics. Coming a little more than two years after its most recent re-issue (July 1, 2016) through Entertainment One, this latest re-issue builds on that release with the inclusion of a new pair of bonus features, which are both pro and con. The fact that the movie’s footage looks exactly as it did in its original release overseas in 1962 is another item that those noted fans will appreciate about the movie’s presentation here. For all of the positives noted, the movie is not without one clear negative, its very story. Obviously fans of the movie will overlook this con, but general audiences who might not be familiar with the movie will find it reason enough to not watch the movie. This will be discussed at more length later. Keeping all of this in mind, Film Movement Classics’ recent re-issue of Forever My Love will appeal to the movie’s most devout audiences, but likely only those audiences.
Film Movement Classics’ recent re-issue of Paramount Pictures’ 1962 import Forever My Love is a work that is certain to appeal to the movie’s most devout audiences. That is evidenced in part through the very look of the movie’s footage. Almost 60 years have passed since the movie, which culls material from all three of star Romy Schneider’s Sissi movies, first premiered, and it has been barely touched, if at all, since that time. All of the old scratches, the static and every other imperfection that makes classic films look so good are present from the movie’s beginning to its end. This is especially important not just for those noted devotees of Forever My Love, but also for movie buffs and historians. That is because of the sense of nostalgia that said look creates for audiences. If it had been touched up more than it was (if it was touched up at all, again), it might not have had that impact. Of course, this is all speculative, but it is clear that the look (and sound) of this presentation is the foundation of its presentation. If for no other reason than that foundation, the movie is worth at least one watch, but sadly not much more.
While the look and sound of Forever My Love does plenty to appeal to the movie’s most devout audiences, the story does just as much to keep less devoted audiences from wanting to take in the movie more than once. That is due at least in part to the roughly two-and-a-half hour movie’s writing. There is no real script here, as the movie just cuts and splices bits and pieces of the Sissi trilogy into one long movie that basically outlines the couple’s life together. The story makes virtually no attempt to grab audiences until the announcement that the Empress is suffering with tuberculosis (TB). Up until that point, there is no real drama or element that will keep viewers engaged. This leads the movie to otherwise just plod along from one point to the next throughout. At least once that announcement is made, audiences have reason to become engaged. Prior to that point, though, there is just nothing positive about the story. Even more concerning is the fact that Princess Elisabeth is the Emperor’s cousin. Given, many societies worldwide “kept it in the family” long ago because they thought it kept the bloodline pure. However, in today’s age, audiences (and people in general) know the opposite to be true. To that end, two cousins marrying and even having a child together just seems to be a bit unsettling for a story line. Keeping all of this in mind, the writing (or lack thereof) detracts quite noticeably from the movie’s presentation, and reduces one’s desire to watch this movie more than once. Of course while the movie’s writing is without argument, problematic for the movie’s new DVD presentation, the bonus material does help the movie’s presentation, at least in part.
The bonus material featured in this incarnation of Forever My Love helps the movie’s presentation at least a little bit thanks to the “From Romy To Sissi” featurette. The 20-minute featurette features audio commentary from Schneider herself that follows the making of the second of the Sissi movies. Audiences learn through the brief discussion that the mountain scenes in said movie were supposed to have taken place in summer, yet were shot during winter. That explains the snow on the ground in the scenes featured in Forever My Love, as well as the fact that the Empress and Emperor were wearing thick, heavy clothes in said scenes. Schneider also notes just as briefly – and with a laugh – that her real life brothers were on set during filming of another of the trilogy’s entries, and that they allegedly were troublemakers to a point. That brief revelation will bring laughs from audiences. Just as many laughs will come as Schneider reveals a note about one of the movies’ hunting scenes. She reveals one figure behind the camera wanted to make certain that the scenes were done to certain specifications. The light-hearted revelation is sure to put smiles on audiences’ faces. Between these and other discussions raised in the featurette’s short run time, the whole of those discussions makes for its own interest for audiences.
While the disc’s main bonus featurette does plenty to engage and entertain audiences, the secondary featurette, “Sissi’s Great-Grandson At The Movies” does nothing to help that interest. It is only a short segment from the bigger documentary Elisabeth: Enigma of an Empress, but paints quite a picture of that doc. That is thank primarily to the general lack of any audio balance whatsoever throughout. Between Schneider’s in-theatre discussions and his talks in his one-on-one interviews, the lack of a balance in the audio makes this brief segment completely unwatchable. The interpreter’s overdubs are at the exact same level of the audio from Schneider’s great-grandson, creating its own cacophony. The same can be said of the balance between the movie audio and the interpreter in the theater moments. The whole is experience is simply unbearable on the ears. If the rest of the doc is like this segment, then the doc in whole likely is just as unenjoyable. When this is considered with the more positive of the DVD’s main bonus featurette, the issues raised by the movie’s writing and the positive of its production values, the whole of this latest re-issue of Forever My Love is sadly a presentation that will likely *ahem* be forever forgettable, even for the most devoted fans of the classic romantic drama.
Film Movement Classics’ recently released re-issue of Forever My Love is a disappointment for the classics arm of the indie film studio. That is even with its positives. The positives are not few, but not many, either. Classic film buffs will appreciate that the movie is presented here with little to no touch-ups on the footage and sound. They will also appreciate the brief behind-the-scenes featurette, which features Romy Schneider discussing work on the trilogy. Sadly, those are its only positives. The story, which splices together elements of the trilogy into one whole does little to engage audiences until late in the second act. Add in the matter of the story centering on two cousins marrying and having a child, and audiences have even less reason to watch. The horrendous secondary “bonus” featurette, which features a brief dubbed discussion from Schneider’s great-grandson detracts from the viewing experience even more. All things considered, this re-issue is one that is sadly, forever forgettable. More information on this and other titles from Film Movement Classics is available online now at:
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