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 <email@example.com>
Director Erich von Stroheim was renowned for his sadistic tendencies. He made actor Matthew Betz eat a piece of maggot-infested meat for one scene and deliberately left the camera running until Betz turned pale and started vomiting. Von Stroheim apparently thought this was as "funny as hell". See more »
In its entirety an Erich Von Stroheim creation. See more »
Excellent morality tale - one of the silent screen's finest achievements.
This is one of von Stroheim's finest works and one of the crowning glories of the silent screen. It is worthy of being cited among the ten or twenty best silent films ever made. The story is simple. Impoverished Prince agrees to marry for money but meanwhile falls in love. He is forced to enter a loveless marriage as is she - the clear message that marriage without love is a sacrilege is beautifully presented. Fay Wray and von Stroheim in the leads are quite fine. Zasu Pitts in the small role of the wealthy woman he marries is sweet and sympathetic, though on screen for only a few scenes. If there had been an Academy then, this surely would have been nominated for Best Film, Direction, Cinematography and Editing. In these departments the film shows itself quite extraordinary and superbly realized. There is even a short early Technicolor sequence (reds, blues and browns) detailing a Corpus Christi procession in 1914 Vienna. The organ score of the video release is accompanied by orchestral parts and sound effects. All in all, very worth seeing. Masterfully conceived and executed.
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