The Merry Widow (1925)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  25 January 1926 (UK)
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Reviews: 14 user | 16 critic

A prince must woo the now wealthy dancer he once abandoned in order to keep her money in the country in order to keep it from crashing economically.



(screen adaptation and scenario), (screen adaptation and scenario), 3 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Sally - The Merry Widow
Crown Prince Mirko
Josephine Crowell ...
Queen Milena
George Fawcett ...
King Nikita
Baron Sadoja
Edward Connelly ...


Prince Danilo falls in love with dancer Sally O'Hara. His uncle, King Nikita I of Monteblanco forbids the marriage because she is a commoner. Thinking she has been jilted by her prince, Sally marries old, lecherous Baron Sadoja, whose wealth has kept the kingdom afloat. When he dies suddenly, Sally must be wooed all over again by Danilo. Written by David Eickemeyer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »



Release Date:

25 January 1926 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Viúva Alegre  »

Box Office


$608,016 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In a videotaped interview conducted in March 2010 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, dancer Marge Champion noted that her father, dance instructor Ernest Belcher, worked as a choreographer in the ballroom sequence of this film. According to her, he worked extensively with leading lady Mae Murray. When Champion recently watched the film on TCM, however, she was surprised to see that her father received no on-screen credit. See more »


A title card reads "a prince has a duty to his country higher then [sic] his duty to himself," a grammatical error unusual for such a prestigious studio as MGM. See more »


Version of The Merry Widow (1952) See more »

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User Reviews

They Had Faces Then
10 October 2004 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

A romantic Prince from tiny Monteblanco attempts to woo THE MERRY WIDOW who once loved him when she was a poor dancer.

Erich von Stroheim, the Teutonic genius who marched through Hollywood's Silent Days like a conquering general, had his final directorial stint at MGM Studios producing this lavish & brilliant film based on the operetta by Franz Lehár. The visuals are striking, with sets that look like actual locations--a mountaintop village; the Castellano Cathedral; Maxim's in Paris--and the occasional bizarre touch--the blindfolded musicians sharing the Prince's seduction bed, for example--which von Stroheim relished. The acting is flawless, with no need for dialogue. The actors' faces speak all that need be said.

Mae Murray & John Gilbert portray the passionate lovers whom Fate (and the plot) contrives to keep apart so successfully. Miss Murray (she and the director loathed each other) powerfully portrays a street-wise performer who, through a series of heartbreaks, becomes a vastly wealthy woman. Gilbert expertly plays a prince whose charm has always gotten him his way. Their scenes together, most particularly the waltz sequences, fairly blaze with unrequited sensual longing and desire.

While it is entertaining to wonder what von Stroheim would have done with the role, it is difficult to imagine anyone better than Roy D'Arcy as the simpering, lusting, sneering Crown Prince; he is pure villainy personified and his eventual fate is absolutely justified. Josephine Crowell gives a fine performance as the Queen. Tully Marshall, one of von Stroheim's favorite character actors, adds another portrait to his gallery of grotesques, this time playing a crippled baron with a foot fetish.

The wonderful organ score which accompanies the film was arranged & performed by Dennis James.

MGM would tackle THE MERRY WIDOW again nine years later and produce a vastly different film, this time directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Maurice Chevalier & Jeanette MacDonald.

23 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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