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Foolish Wives (1922)

 |  Drama  |  11 January 1922 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,816 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 32 critic

A con artist masquerades a Russian nobility and attempts to seduce the wife of an American diplomat.


(as Erich Von Stroheim)


(story) (as Erich Von Stroheim) , (titles), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Rudolph Christians ...
Andrew J. Hughes - U.S. Special-Envoy to Monaco
Miss DuPont ...
Helen - His Wife (as Miss Dupont)
Maude George ...
Her Highness - Princess Olga Petchnikoff
Her Cousin - Princess Vera Petchnikoff
Their Cousin - Count Sergius Karamzin - Capt. 3rd Hussars Imper. Russian Army (as Erich Von Stroheim)
Dale Fuller ...
Maruschka - a Maid
Albert Edmondson ...
Pavel Pavlich - a Butler (as Al Edmondson)
Cesare Gravina ...
Cesare Ventucci - a Counterfeiter
Malvina Polo ...
Marietta - His Half-witted Daughter (as Malvine Polo)
C.J. Allen ...
Albert 1 - Prince of Monaco


"Count" Karanzim, a Don Juan is with his cousins in Monte Carlo, living from faked money and the money he gets from rich ladies, who are attracted by his charmes and his title or his militaristic and aristocratic behaviour. He tries to have success with Mrs Hughes, the wife of the new US ambassador. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

11 January 1922 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Esposas Ingênuas  »

Box Office


$1,100,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original) | (Ontario) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As the film's production costs skyrocketed, Universal Pictures attempted to use the situation to garner some publicity for it. The studio erected an electronic sign on a rooftop overlooking Broadway, across the street from its New York offices. The sign read "Universal Pictures and Erich von Stroheim will spend $XXX,XXX to entertain you with 'Foolish Wives'." Each week the numbers of the production costs were updated on the electronic sign, telling how much more the picture had cost. In the end the total cost of the film, as reported by Universal, was $1,103,736.38. Von Stroheim later claimed that the real cost was only around $700,000. See more »


When the Count seats Mrs. Hughes at the roulette table, she is wearing a different gown than the one in the rest of the scene. See more »


Spoofed in The Frozen North (1922) See more »

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User Reviews

A Woman and Her Money Are Soon Parted
26 November 2007 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Three Russian aristocrats lease a villa from which they can luxuriously enjoy Monte Carlo. They are: maid-pinching Maude George (as Princess Olga Petchnikoff), blonde-wigged Mae Busch (as Princess Vera Petchnikoff), and monocled lady-killer Erich von Stroheim (as Count Wladislaw Sergius Karamzin). You should also keep an eye on their foolish maid, Dale Fuller (as Maruschka). Mr. von Stroheim is the film's star, director, and writer. It becomes obvious the trio are really counterfeiting con artists. The gang of three are intrigued by the notice of the arrival of American Envoy Rudolph Christians (as Andrew J. Hughes) and his wife Miss DuPont (as Helen); they decide to strike up a societal acquaintanceship with the Americans, to help provide cover for their swindling. Then, von Stroheim shows Ms. DuPont his stiff cane, and give her bare legs a leer…

Have a great laugh when Ms. DuPont, while applying her face cream, declares she is twenty-one years old; husband's reply he that is a sun-burned forty-one shows he can shave off years with the best of them. Mr. Christians died during the production, and his white-haired replacement, back to the camera, is obvious; with all the expense obviously spent on "Foolish Wives", it's difficult to understand why von Stroheim could not add a little bit of cheap shoe polish to Robert Edeson's head. There are other problems with the story, which was brutally cut down from a multi-hour epic. Still, the studio heads could not cut the neither the length of von Stroheim's cigarettes, nor the fact that his (vanity) production of "Foolish Wives" retains its spectacle.

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