Erich von Stroheim was an director of silent movies, as well as an actor in both silents and talkies. Uncompromising and rigid, he battled the studio system for control over his pictures' ... See full summary »
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Erich von Stroheim
Sam De Grasse,
Erich von Stroheim was an director of silent movies, as well as an actor in both silents and talkies. Uncompromising and rigid, he battled the studio system for control over his pictures' content, and his career had many ups and downs as a result. Through interviews, photos, and archival footage, The Man You Loved to Hate explores von Stroheim's career. The title refers to von Stroheim's frequent casting as a German villain in films of the early 1940s. Von Stroheim's last famous acting role was in Billy Wilder's Sunset Blvd. Written by
Ken Miller <email@example.com>
One of the "viewer reviews" here suggests that this documentary's focus is "soft", without explaining why, and that it "skimps on details" about a man "whose origins are a total mystery".
In fact, the film actually shows Stroheim's birth certificate, documenting that he was a Viennese Jew without any 'von' attached to his surname. We know who his parents were and a photograph of his mother is shown in the documentary. Later, producer publicist Paul Kohner, himself Austrian, who collaborated with Stroheim and had plenty of opportunity to speak German with him, testifies that Stroheim spoke German with a low-class Viennese accentand names the Viennese district he sounded to be from. We are also told that Erich Stroheim came to America in 1909, at age 23.
I'd say all that's plenty about his origins.
The documentary then adopts a factual, step-by-step chronicle approach to the man's life, without cute theses but plenty of interesting information contributed by a goodly number of interviewees who knew and worked with him, including his widow and the Frenchwoman who shared life with him during his last decade, in France.
Many, many clips and stills, including work that has not survived, are fascinating indeed and otherwise utterly unobtainable..
Although the KINO DVD presentation of this 1979 documentary, which accompanies their FOOLISH WIVES, has not been restored and looks somewhat faded, I can only call this a top-notch contribution on a really major figure. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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