Peggy and her friend Millie are strolling down Broadway while Jimmy and Mac are trolling Broadway, and the four get together. Jimmy and Peggy get together in many romantic ways and Peggy ... See full summary »
The wife of an American playwright in Paris becomes ensnared in the seductive wiles of an American Army officer, but her devotion to her husband convinces the officer to try to extricate ... See full summary »
Erich von Stroheim
Sam De Grasse,
The small kingdom of Marshovia has a little problem. The main tax-payer, the wealthy widow Sonia (who pays 52 0f the taxes) has left for Paris So Count Danilo is sent to Paris, to stop her ... See full summary »
Edward Everett Horton
"The Wedding March" ended with the marriage between Nikki and the crippled Cecilia takes place. Eberle swears to kills the prince unless Mitzi will agree to marry him. She relents, but at ... See full summary »
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
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 »
The biggest problem I have with user reviews on websites like IMDb is that the reviews are usually much too positive. People seem to love everything, and they seem to expect everyone else to love everything too. Positive reviews are invariably rated "helpful" and negative reviews are spat upon. The childish rule of "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" has a remarkable appeal for otherwise sensible adults... it is so strange.
I rarely give strongly positive reviews, but "The Merry Widow" is such a fantastic movie that giving it a "10" is quite easy. Why is it fantastic? Well, for starters John Gilbert is a revelation in this film. I've seen him in a few other silents, but he is incomparable here. His eyes, his expressions, his movements.... it is marvelous just to watch him. Von Stroheim gives Gilbert lots of screen time to express his mental turmoil, and Gilbert does so with remarkable depth and nuance for a silent film. Next, the other actors are excellent in their roles. Roy D'Arcy is terrific as the mean, fastidious and sly Crown Prince. Unlike most Von Stroheim villains, his rather ham fisted nastiness does not become an annoying caricature -- he is actually rather charming and funny with a strange mixture of grace and hunched awkwardness. Mae Murray is incandescent as the love interest -- the superb cinematography makes her look gorgeous, almost ethereal at times -- though her acting, while good, isn't the best in this particular movie. Everyone else in the cast more than pulls his weight.
The story, too, is quite wonderful. There are many twists and turns... it almost feels like an epic... and the pacing creates plenty of tension and suspense. I also noticed the editing -- the shooting was quite complex and the cutting very skillful. Then there's Von Stroheim's usual opulence with respect to decor, costume, and all the little details that evoke old-style European aristocracy. But even in the midst of the opulence there's a scene shot out in an open, barren field that is remarkably atmospheric and utterly simple. I could go on and on....
There's really nothing to quibble with here. If possible, wait to see it in a cinema with live piano accompaniment -- I felt very fortunate to have had that opportunity.
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