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Merry-Go-Round (1923)

 |  Drama  |  3 September 1923 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 198 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 1 critic

A nobleman, posing as a necktie salesman, falls in love with the daughter of a circus puppeteer, even though he is already married to the daughter of his country's war minister.

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, (uncredited)

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, (story), 2 more credits »
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Title: Merry-Go-Round (1923)

Merry-Go-Round (1923) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Cesare Gravina ...
Edith Yorke ...
George Hackathorne ...
...
Schani Huber
Dale Fuller ...
Lillian Sylvester ...
Mrs. Aurora Rossreiter
Spottiswoode Aitken ...
Minister of War / Gisella's Father
Dorothy Wallace ...
Countess Gisella Von Steinbruck
Albert Edmondson ...
Nepomuck Navrital (as Al Edmondson)
Albert Conti ...
Rudi / Baron von Leightsinn
Charles King ...
Nicki (as Charles L. King)
Fenwick Oliver ...
Eitel
Sidney Bracey ...
Gisella's Groom
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Storyline

Life's merry-go-round goes full tilt for Agnes, a virtuous carny at Vienna's Prater just before the Great War. Her father is abused by their cruel boss, Huber, who may force himself on Agnes. A Count who's engaged to the daughter of the minister of defense chats up Agnes one night while he's slumming; she thinks he's Franz, a necktie salesman, and she falls in love with him. Is he using charm and guile to seduce her? Plus there's Bartholomew, a hunchback who's a barker at the Prater; his love for Agnes is unrequited. Are the fates blind or is there reward for virtue? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 September 1923 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amores de Príncipe  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Erich von Stroheim's excesses on the film included bringing in a real Viennese streetcar to be used in street scenes (a Los Angeles streetcar simply wouldn't do, said the director). Also, for the brief scene where an actor playing the Austrian Emperor steps out of a hotel and climbs into his horse-drawn carriage, von Stroheim had Universal Studios buy an actual carriage used by Austrian Emperor Franz Josef and ship it to Hollywood. See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood: Autocrats (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

THE MERRY GO ROUND WALTZ
(The Merry Go Round Theme)
Written by Paul Van Dyke (orchestrated by Maurice Baron)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A lovely film...
4 August 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

The film is set in pre-WWI Vienna. A Count (Norman Kerry) is expected by the Emperor to marry a certain Countess . However, he doesn't love her and would much rather act like a playboy. However, he meets up with a poor organ grinder and falls for her (Mary Philbin). This lady and her family lead a rather sad life at the Prater amusement park, as their boss is a total sadist and treats them more like slaves than employees. This mistreatment comes to a head when the boss pushes too far. He not only won't let Philbin and her father off work when the mother is dying, but soon afterwords he beats Philbin so badly that the father stabs the evil boss to stop this. Unfortunately, the police catch the father and jailed--though he was acting to save his daughter.

Later, Philbin just happens to meet Kerry once again. She tells him what has befallen her father and he decides to use is influence to help them. Unfortunately, in the process he falls head over heels for her and must have her...but what about the marriage?! In the meantime, Kerry marries and the old boss returns for revenge and nearly kills the father in a staged accident. This chance occurrence brings Kerry back in to their lives--and now it's obvious that he's the Count. Philben and her father had thought he was a regular fellow, as he'd told them he was a salesman...and not a married man! At around the same time, WWI begins and the world is royally...screwed. Kerry returns to Philbin to beg her forgiveness for deceiving her, but she'll have none of it...and he then goes to war. Is there any hope for this couple or is it too late?!

There are a couple things to note. First, the merry-go-round from the title is a metaphor for how life manipulates us all. In this case, periodically, a devilish being stands with a small merry-go-round spinning about him to symbolize this. It's pretty weird...but also kinda cool--especially as this guy really, really likes how he's screwing with people! Second, at one point one of the characters in the film who works with animals at the Prater announces that they have an "orang-utan straight from the jungles of Africa"?! Orangutans are about as African as Koalas--as they come from Borneo and Indonesia! And what the animal does in the film is possible but very hard to believe.

So is the film worth seeing? Absolutely. While the plot is a bit hard to believe (it has a lot of wild story elements), the story of love unrequited is quite lovely. Also, while no one will ever know how the Von Stroheim version might have been had it been finished, this less costly version was incredibly pretty and appeared like what you'd think Vienna must have looked like. I have been there, but following two world wars (with WWII causing huge damage), I am sure practically all of the city has changed dramatically. Overall, it's a very nice film--and it's lovely to see Miss Philbin in something other than her famous role in "Phantom of the Opera".

One final note--while I noticed one review refer to this as "Von Stroheim's masterpiece", according to IMDb hardly any of this film uses any of the crazed and perfectionistic director's work he'd done on the film before being replaced. And, considering that much of the budget was apparently wasted by Von Stroheim, the new director (Rupert Julian) did an amazing job--as the film is quite beautiful and his version of Emperor Franz Joseph looked an awful lot like the one taken from newsreels used at the very beginning of the film (one of the few Von Stroheim touches that made it to the film--and a very expensive scene according to IMDb).


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