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Queen Kelly (1929)

Passed | | Drama | 1 January 1929 (USA)
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)

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1 win. See more awards »



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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 <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

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)|
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Did You Know?


Erich von Stroheim: [janitor] Wolfram returns to the palace after a night of drunken revelry and passes a cleaning person with a vacuum cleaner on his way up the palace's grand staircase. 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 Hollywood: Swanson and Valentino (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Stroheim's Swansong
19 April 2008 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

In an ancient European kingdom, sultry Seena Owen (as Queen Regina V) lounges, awaiting her nuptials with dashing Walter Byron (as Prince Wolfram). Nearby, convent girl Gloria Swanson (as Patricia Kelly) encourages the Lord's wrath by sleeping with her photographs of the handsome Mr. Byron. While he is out riding one day, Ms. Swanson gets a chance to meet the idolized Prince, and embarrassingly loses her knickers! For Swanson and Byron, it's love at first sight. But, how can a simple convent girl get the Queen's stud?

Director Erich von Stroheim and actress Gloria Swanson, with their skills in full tilt excess, are a joy to behold. Yet, "Queen Kelly" emerges as a fairly strong film, despite its self-indulgence. Once considered a hopelessly unfinished work; the film has been restored, with great integrity, through intertitles, stills, and imagination. There is no doubt Swanson would have played the final reels expertly; but, there is no way to tell if Stroheim and Swanson would have re-shot some of her opening footage. Few convent girls looked as gorgeous as Gloria Swanson, with her amplified eyelashes. Though she isn't the first (or last) Hollywood convent inhabitant to look so ravishing, it would have been wise to tone down the look, until later in the film.

Flaws notwithstanding, "Queen Kelly" is full of great stuff. Tobacco-stained Tully Marshall (as Jan Vryheid) and whip-wielding Ms. Owen are delightfully outrageous. Byron, pocketing her knickers, is a thoroughly charming partner for Swanson. Stroheim, and photographers Gordon Pollock and Paul Ivano, are outstanding; a simple scene of Swanson praying, with candles dripping around her, is beautiful.

Ah, they had faces then…

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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