8.1/10
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15 user 17 critic

The Merry Widow (1925)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 25 January 1926 (UK)
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.

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Writers:

(screen adaptation and scenario), (screen adaptation and scenario) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Sally - The Merry Widow
...
...
Crown Prince Mirko
...
Queen Milena
...
King Nikita
...
Baron Sadoja
...
Ambassador
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Storyline

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

25 January 1926 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Viúva Alegre  »

Box Office

Budget:

$608,016 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(2-strip Technicolor) (one sequence)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Version of A Viúva Alegre (1911) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Absolutely superb
2 July 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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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