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Queen Kelly (1929)

Passed  |   |  Drama  |  1 January 1929 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 2,592 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 16 critic

A convent girl is abducted and seduced by a prince before being sent off to a brothel in East Africa.


(as Erich Von Stroheim) , (uncredited) , 3 more credits »


(based on an original story by) (as Erich Von Stroheim) , (titles) (as Marion Ainslee) , 3 more credits »
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Title: Queen Kelly (1929)

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Complete credited cast:
Kitty Kelly / Queen Kelly
Walter Byron ...
Prince Wolfram
Queen Regina V


Prince Wolfram is the betrothed of mad Queen Regina V of Kronberg. Supreme ruler, her word is law and he is a playboy. On maneuvers as punishment for partying with other women, he sees Kelly walking the the other students of a convent. He is intrigued by her beauty and wants her. He kidnaps her that night from the convent and takes her to his room and professes his love for her. When the Queen finds them together the next morning , she whips Kelly and throws her out of the castle. Regina then puts Wolfram into prison for not wanting to marry the Queen. Kelly goes to German East Africa to visit her dying Aunt and is forced to marry the disgusting Jan. The Aunt dies after the wedding and Kelly refuses to live with Jan and becomes the head of Aunties Brothel. Her extravagances and style earn her the name 'Queen Kelly' and Prince Wolfram does not marry Queen Regina V. Written by Tony Fontana <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Passed | See all certifications »



Release Date:

1 January 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Swamp  »

Box Office


$800,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(1985 restored) | (Swanson Version)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric System)|
See  »

Did You Know?


Erich von Stroheim clashed with Paul Ivano numerous times; Ivano would frequently be fired by the exacting director, only to be immediately reinstated by Gloria Swanson. See more »


The positions of the two different groups, the troops and the convent girls, are constantly changing in relation to the shrine on Kambach road. See more »


Kitty Kelly, aka Queen Kelly: [stunned to learn that Wolfram is engaged to the Queen] He's going... to marry... you?
Queen Regina V: *I* am going to marry *HIM*!
See more »


Featured in Sunset Blvd. (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

Great silent film tragically snared by the stampede to sound
8 December 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

My favorite Von Stroheim bio says the thing that killed this film is that it was begun smack in the middle of the industry-wide transition to sound. Swanson hired Von Stroheim for her independent producing company because she thought him the greatest director working at the time. The work continued on the film for a period under this condition: Behind the scenes, and unbeknownst to Von Stroheim, financier Joseph Kennedy and Gloria Swanson, concerned about the state of the market into which this film would be released eventually, started discussing ways to bail out the project vis a vis sound vs. silent film. They discussed adding a sound track, basically a music and effects track, after the fact; one plan was to film and insert some singing sequences to a basically silent film as The Jazz Singer had. In the end, it is supposedly Kennedy who nixed the whole thing saying no use throwing good money after bad.

Von Stroheim was troubled by this turn of events, but he didn't hate Swanson over it. Still, he did not see her or speak to her for another 21 years, and then only during the filming of Sunset Boulevard. (He despised this, probably his most high profile film role: "That damned butler role" he supposedly called it to the end of his days. He saw it as a crude burlesque, for an ignorant new generation, of a great silent director-- who just happened to be none other than Erich Von Stroheim.)

Queen Kelly shows modern viewers just how sophisticated the last silent films were visually. It is astonishing the fluid, second-nature communication that took place entirely without words. Title cards had become largely superfluous, a throwback to an earlier style of storytelling. And sound, rather than, as has so often been declared, selling out the developments in silent films, seems a natural outgrowth of these last silent years.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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