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 »
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>
Not really an accomplished documentary (its focus is blurred and it skimps on details), it does at least provide a lot of useful information on the supremely unlikely life of the fascinating writer/actor/director/persona Erich von Stroheim. Probably best known as a visionary, extremely controversial director who got his start in Hollywood under D.W. Griffith, and later on for poignant roles in the classics "The Grand Illusion" and "Sunset Boulevard" playing characters who are proud relics of an earlier time; I was amazed that the number of films he acted in dwarfed the number he directed by about 5 to 1. This film explores, though not in enough depth, how he set the standard for perfectionist, studio-battling, chronically over-budget directors who REFUSE to make any compromises for their art, and see their careers and legacy suffer because of it.
It also shows how this extraordinary man, whose origins are a total mystery, had more comebacks and ups and downs than John Travolta. He had, by my count, at least five different incarnations spanning a 40 year career in the movies. ONE, as an assistant director/bit player for Griffith. TWO, as a conveniently German bad guy ("The Man You Love to Hate") in anti-German propaganda flicks at the end of WWI. THREE, and perhaps most notably, as a prestigious and commercially successful director of ambitious silents in the 1920's (in which he also sometimes starred) - of which his severely truncated "Greed" is still regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. FOUR, as a stock villain in B Pictures in the early 30's - after Hollywood finally became exasperated with his increasingly unpredictable antics as director and decided he couldn't make the adjustment from Silents to Sound. Then FIVE, as a celebrated actor in France of all places, where he lived out his days as a beloved figure, and also found time to accept a significant supporting part in Billy Wilder's "Sunset Boulevard" - enjoying one last burst of American acclaim, ironically and poignantly portraying a once great director of Silents who has been reduced to being butler to a washed up movie star.
Offers a glimpse at this remarkable subject, but really needed to be an hour or so longer to truly do him justice.
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