Archive for January 16th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(USA 1925 137m) not on DVD

To supper – ah…

p  Irving G.Thalberg  d  Erich Von Stroheim  w  Erich Von Stroheim, Benjamin Glazer  operetta  Victor Leon, Leo Stein, Franz Lehar  ph  Oliver Marsh, Ben Reynolds, William H.Daniels  art  Richard Day, Cedric Gibbons  cos  Richard Day, Erich Von Stroheim

Mae Murray (Sally O’Hara), John Gilbert (Prince Danilo Danilovitch), Roy d’Arcy (Crown Prince Mirko), Tully Marshall (Baron Sixtus Sadoja), Josephine Crowell (Queen Milena), George Fawcett (King Nikita I), Edward Connelly (Baron Popoff),

The Merry Widow is unique among Von Stroheim’s post debut (Blind Husbands) output in that it survives just about as intended.  Just take a look at his other masterpieces – Foolish Wives (butchered from 6 hours to under 2), Greed (mutilated from 8 hours to just over 2), The Wedding March (minus its entire second part) and Queen Kelly (abandoned unfinished).  The Merry Widow was intended as a relatively small scale production, but Thalberg brought Von Stroheim on board aiming for a little more opulence.  Thalberg knew Von Stroheim, remembering their tussles on Foolish Wives and The Merry-Go-Round, which he fired him off only a part of the way through.  Yet he knew Von Stroheim’s genius, and recognised its almost anachronism to the money mad twenties.  He tolerated his excesses this once, even if he famously called the Von in to see him to explain the various shots and expenses of women’s shoes, to which the Von merely said that the character has a foot fetish.  Thalberg replied “and you, sir, have a footage fetish.” (more…)

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