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Blind Husbands (1919)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 7 December 1919 (USA)
An Austrian officer sets out to seduce a neglected young wife.

Director:

(as Erich Stroheim)

Writers:

(book) (as Erich Stroheim), (adaption) (as Erich Stroheim) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... The Husband, Dr. Robert Armstrong
... The Wife, Margaret Armstrong
... The Other Man, Lt. Erich von Steuben
... The Mountain Guide, Sepp Innerkofler (as T.H. Gibson Gowland)
Fay Holderness ... The 'Vamp' Waitress
Ruby Kendrick ... A Village Blossom
Valerie Germonprez ... Honeymooner
... Honeymooner
Richard Cummings ... The Village Physician
Louis Fitzroy ... The Village Priest
William De Vaull ... Man from 'Home'
Jack Mathis ... Man from 'Home'
Percy Challenger ... Man from 'Home'
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Storyline

An Austrian military officer and roue' attempts to seduce the wife of a surgeon. The two men confront each other in a test of abilities that ends surprisingly. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 December 1919 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Pinnacle  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$42,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,000,000, 1 December 1919
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(color toned)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Erich von Stroheim had to agree to wave fees as writer and director in order to make this first film as writer director. However, he still got $200 a week to star. See more »

Goofs

In one shot, when the wife walks across her bedroom, a spotlight beam is visible on the ground following her. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting Early Stroheim
27 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

A basic marital morality tale, enthused with Stroheim's lust for self-loathing. He plays an over-sexed, effete, lizard of a Prussian Officer, named Von Steubens, who zealously seeks to dishonour the wife of an American doctor holidaying in an Alpine retreat.

Interestingly, Stroheim is said to have virtually stalked Carl Laemmle, the head of Universal, in order to get his story, The Pinnacle, made into what would become Blind Husbands. Not the least hint or sign, then, of the crazy, obsessive auteur, a part that Stroheim would pioneer! As a director, Stroheim does have a wonderful visual eye (scenes of men climbing mountains etc.). There are also some very inventive shots, such as when the wife is looking at her practically impotent husband, the doctor, sleeping in bed, via a mirror, and then sees a young couple at the lodge in place of him, completely in love, before going back to the snoring doctor.

Moreover, the English actor who would go on to play McTeague in Stroheim's much greater, later, work: Greed, here plays a mountain guide. He is a symbol of the people of the mountains, strong, pious and devout, a complete opposite to Von Steubens' decadent Officer, who uses his cultural refinement only to guarantee his baser purposes, wooing the local peasant girls with poetry for instance, and wooing the doctor's wife with a violin.

But that's the problem with film. Although the characterisation isn't completely two-dimensional, the esteemed doctor, for instance, shows envy and hatred. His wife also admits an ambivalent interest in Von Steubens unwholesome charm. But Stroheim seems to idealise these mountain people from the get go, which is stupid romanticism. Anyone who has such romanticism should read An Alpine Idyll, a short story by Hemingway.

Still, an interesting early Stroheim.


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