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The Wedding March (1928)

 -  Drama  -  6 October 1928 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 908 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 12 critic

A young impoverished aristocrat falls in love with an inn-keepers daughter, but has to marry money.

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Title: The Wedding March (1928)

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Nicki / Prince Nickolas von Wildeliebe-Rauffenburg
...
Mitzi / Mitzerl Schrammell
Matthew Betz ...
Schani Eberle - the Butcher
...
Cecelia Schweisser
George Fawcett ...
Prince Ottokar von Wildeliebe Rauffenburg
Maude George ...
Princess Maria - Nicki's mother
George Nichols ...
Fortunat Schweisser - the Industrialist
Dale Fuller ...
Katerina Schrammel - Mitzi's mother
Hughie Mack ...
Eberle - the Wine-grower
Cesare Gravina ...
Martin Schrammell - Mitzi's father
Sidney Bracey ...
Navratil
Anton Vaverka ...
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Storyline

Prince Nikki, Lieutenant of the Guard in pre WWI Vienna, is flat broke, but the only advice he gets from his parents is either to shoot himself or to marry money. During the Chorpus Christi parade his horse accidentaly hurts poor Mitzi, the daughter of inn-keepers in a Viennese suburb, who is, according to the wishes of her parents, going to marry the butcher Schani. When Nikki visits her at the hospital, they fall in love, much to the dislike of her parents and Schani. Nikki's parents, meanwhile have arranged a prospective marriage with Cecilia, the limping daughter of a very rich non-aristocratic industrial. Due to the fact, that Nikki's father is a general in the Austrian-Hungarian Army, resitance is useless. When Mitzi, after hearing of it, is still refusing Schani's proposal, he vowes to shoot Nikki when he leaves the church. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Release Date:

6 October 1928 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hochzeitsmarsch  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System) (musical score and sound effects)|

Color:

(Two-strip Technicolor)|
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to author Roy Kinnard, when the original $300,000 budget had ballooned to $1,125,000 after nine months of shooting, producer Pat Powers called a halt to the production. See more »

Crazy Credits

In its entirety an Erich Von Stroheim creation. See more »

Connections

Follows The Honeymoon (1928) See more »

Soundtracks

PARADISE (The Love Theme)
Music by J.S. Zamecnik
Lyrics by Harry D. Kerr
Copyright 1928 Sam Fox Music Pub. Co.
See more »

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User Reviews

A stately affair
26 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

History paints Erich Von Stroheim as the great misunderstood genius, the `footage fetishist' whose grandiose films were too ahead of their time & too ambitious for producers with their `nickel and dime' mentalities. Irving Thalberg emerges as a major villain in this saga, sacking him first from Universal in the midst of shooting Merry Go Round, then hacking apart his masterpiece Greed over at MGM before sacking him again from The Merry Widow. By 26/7 Von Stroheim was running out of major studios to work for. Fortunately Merry Widow was a hit and he won backing from Pat Powers at Paramount for a two part epic critique of royalty. Only the first part survives, an executive changeover at Paramount occurred and new boss, B.P. Schulberg, took fright at the expense and failure of Part 1 and quickly dumped Part 2 on the European market where it vanished permanently. Von Stroheim was ostracized by the major studios and after two further abortive projects (Queen Kelly and Walking Down Broadway) he never directed again.

Whilst it's impossible not to feel sympathy with a man whose vision was too much for the industry of his time, the films themselves are often overloaded with details and appear stiff and pedantic when compared with the contemporary work of Vidor, Murnau, Lubitsch, Von Sternberg or DeMille. A good example of this is the scene where Fay Wray first sees Von Stroheim's prince. Partly filmed in 2-color Technicolor, this is a pleasure on the eyes, but an incident which should play out in 3 or 4 minutes is here stretched out to about 15. That would be fine if it was an isolated incidence or a dramatic high point, but this is the pacing Von Stroheim employs throughout. Whilst the result is impressive and strangely hypnotic, `Von Stroheim' time feels much slower than real time and the two hours of this film felt closer to three. Mannered as this is in a silent film, this style would've been painful indeed if attempted in sound.

Von Stroheim's direction reminds me of the theatrical producer Gordon Craig who in the early 20th century attempted to reproduce realism on stage with fully plumbed and working interior sets, real trees, gravel and soil for outside settings etc, even utilising giant tanks of water in which to stage shipboard scenes. Real objects are on stage, yes. but doesn't this miss the point of an audience engaging with players and text to create their own realism? Another result of this is an oddly dehumanizing one, as our attention is distracted from the interplay of characters by the piling on of detail. That for me is the basic problem with Von Stroheim Not to say Von Stroheim wasn't a great film maker, as Greed definitely proves. But I can't help feeling the cutting helped Greed more than hurt it. The recent TCM restoration, while fascinating and something to be grateful for, only serves to illustrate this, and in Wedding March we see just how indulgent the Von could become.

Choosing himself as leading man didn't help either. In The Merry Widow, John Gilbert was able to engage the audience through his charm and charisma. However here, Von Stroheim's impoverished Prince looks rather villainous and appears both cold hearted and kinky - not an endearing combination. He mostly gives a statue-like performance and only Fay Wray, vibrantly fresh and beautiful, engages us emotionally.

Admittedly the story becomes more gripping in the last half hour or so, and the ending (a surprisingly bitter one) made me wish the 2nd Part had survived.

It's definitely worth seeing, both as cinema and for what it tells us of this fascinating figure, but once is enough.


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