7.2/10
2,477
22 user 28 critic

Foolish Wives (1922)

Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | 11 January 1922 (USA)
A con artist masquerades a Russian nobility and attempts to seduce the wife of an American diplomat.

Director:

(as Erich Von Stroheim)

Writers:

(story and scenario) (as Erich Von Stroheim), (titles) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Greed (1924)
Drama | Thriller | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Gibson Gowland, Zasu Pitts, Jean Hersholt
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A young American soldier witnesses the horrors of the Great War.

Directors: King Vidor, George W. Hill
Stars: John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Hobart Bosworth
La roue (1923)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (who Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally ... See full summary »

Director: Abel Gance
Stars: Séverin-Mars, Ivy Close, Gabriel de Gravone
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Two orphaned sisters are caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution, encountering misery and love along the way.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young impoverished aristocrat falls in love with an inn-keepers daughter, but has to marry money.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Erich von Stroheim, Fay Wray, Zasu Pitts
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Abandoned by her fiancé, an educated black woman with a shocking past dedicates herself to helping a near bankrupt school for impoverished black youths.

Director: Oscar Micheaux
Stars: Evelyn Preer, Flo Clements, James D. Ruffin
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

One of the first feminist movies, The Smiling Madame Beudet is the story of an intelligent woman trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband is used to playing a stupid practical joke in ... See full summary »

Director: Germaine Dulac
Stars: Germaine Dermoz, Alexandre Arquillière, Jean d'Yd
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Arch-criminal Dr. Mabuse sets out to make a fortune and run Berlin. Detective Wenk sets out to stop him.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Aud Egede-Nissen, Gertrude Welcker
Comedy | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A man returns to his Appalachian homestead. On the trip, he falls for a young woman. The only problem is her family has vowed to kill every member of his family.

Directors: John G. Blystone, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Natalie Talmadge, Joe Keaton
Napoleon (1927)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A film about the French general's youth and early military career.

Director: Abel Gance
Stars: Albert Dieudonné, Vladimir Roudenko, Edmond Van Daële
Adventure | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A medieval love story with lots of adventures. The times are troubled - there's a revolt of peasants going on. To secure its safety a monastery chases for a relics of a holy Brigitte. A ... See full summary »

Director: Grigori Kromanov
Stars: Aleksandr Goloborodko, Igrida Andrina, Elza Radzina
Kevade (1969)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Semi-autobiographical story by Oskar Luts about friendship, love and life in a small Estonian country boarding school in the late 1800s. Followed by Suvi (1976) and Sügis (1990).

Director: Arvo Kruusement
Stars: Arno Liiver, Riina Hein, Aare Laanemets
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rudolph Christians ... Andrew J. Hughes - U.S. Special-Envoy to Monaco
... Helen Hughes (as Miss Dupont)
... Princess Olga Petchnikoff
... Princess Vera Petchnikoff
... Count Sergius Karamzin - Capt. 3rd Hussars Imper. Russian Army (as Erich Von Stroheim)
... Maruschka
Albert Edmondson ... Pavel Pavlich (as Al Edmondson)
Cesare Gravina ... Cesare Ventucci
Malvina Polo ... Marietta Ventucci (as Malvine Polo)
C.J. Allen ... Albert 1 - Prince of Monaco
Edit

Storyline

"Count" Karanzim, a Don Juan is with his cousins in Monte Carlo, living from faked money and the money he gets from rich ladies, who are attracted by his charmes and his title or his militaristic and aristocratic behaviour. He tries to have success with Mrs Hughes, the wife of the new US ambassador. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Once in a great while something happens in the world of art and literature of such momentous importance that it stands out prominently like a Gigantic Beacon of Light of History, marking a milestone in the course of human progress. Such an epoch-making event is the presentation by Carl Laemmle of a vivid and realistic romance of Monte Carlo, screened amid scenic backgrounds of unequaled and costly splendor, the turning point of screen art. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 January 1922 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Esposas Ingênuas  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,100,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$400,200, 31 December 1922
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original) | (Ontario) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Erich von Stroheim's attention to detail was such that he ordered an engraver to print copies of French money as props for the movie (he was playing the role of a counterfeiter). Unfortunately, the money printed was realistic enough that, shortly before shooting began, von Stroheim was arrested and hauled into court on counterfeiting charges. He escaped punishment by arguing to the judge that "the money was for use in pictures only." See more »

Goofs

When the Count seats Mrs. Hughes at the roulette table, she is wearing a different gown than the one in the rest of the scene. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Frozen North (1922) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Seldom Seen Silent Classic
21 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

Today Erich Von Stroheim is best recalled by the general public for his appearances in such films as the 1950 SUNSET BLVD--but fans of silent film know him as one of early cinema's great directors, creator of such films as BLIND HUSBANDS, FOOLISH WIVES, and the legendary masterwork GREED. The film is available in several VHS and DVD releases; perhaps the best, however, is offered by Kino Video, which also includes a profile of Von Stroheim as well.

FOOLISH WIVES is generally believed to be the first film made that cost one million dollars. In the modern era, when film budgets often run into many millions of dollars, this may seem slight--but in 1922 Universal Studios was staggered not only by the costs, but by Von Stroheim's seemingly endless shooting schedule; at a time when most movies were made in six weeks or less, FOOLISH WIVES took a year or more to complete and threatened to bankrupt the studio.

The circumstances brought Von Stroheim into direct conflict with production manager Irving Thalberg, who threatened to replace him with another director. By most accounts, Von Stroheim laughed in Thalberg's face: not only was he director, he was the star as well, and if he were fired the film would never be completed. Thalberg and Universal had little choice but grin and bear it... but it was something Thalberg would recall several years later, much to Von Stroheim's chagrin.

Set in post-World War I Monaco, FOOLISH WIVES presents the story of the ultra-amoral Count Wladislaw Sergius (Von Stroheim) and his two supposed cousins Olga (Maude George) and Vera (Mae Busch) who present themselves as wealthy Russian nobility--but who are in fact a trio of vicious con-artists who generate cash flow by passing counterfeit bills through Monaco's legendary casinos. Eager to deflect suspicion, they scrape acquaintance with an American diplomat and his wife (Rudolph Christians and Helen Hughes)--and in time at all the naive wife is so much putty in the Count's diabolical hands.

Von Stroheim recreated a fairly large chunk of Monaco on the Universal back lot, and the sets, costumes, and crowds of extras still put most modern productions to shame. But the film's real fascination are the deadly trio of Maude George, Mae Busch, and most particularly Von Stroheim himself. Within the first few minutes of the film he contemplates advances upon an attractive but mentally deficient young woman--and as the plot unfolds we discover that he has seduced the maid with a promise of marriage he does not intend to keep. This, of course, does not prevent him from taking her life savings for a little gambling money when the need arises! The overall cast is quite good, with Miss DuPont a stand out as the diplomat's wife, and the cast plays without recourse to the broad mannerisms often seen in many silent films. But what drives the film is our curiosity at how far Von Stroheim will take both the film and his own performance. The answer? Plenty far indeed. It's all fascinating stuff, and truly this is the film that gave Von Stroheim the title of "The Man You Love To Hate." FOOLISH WIVES was soundly condemned by the moral authorities of the day, and Universal lost a bundle on the project. In an effort to recoup some of the loss, the studio cut and then recut the film to a more reasonable length for distribution; as a result, great chunks of the film were lost. While a "complete" version is an impossibility, the Kino version seems to restore the film as completely as possible.

FOOLISH WIVES inevitably pales in comparison to Stroheim's later GREED, but it is a remarkably fine, remarkably watchable silent--and the two films would have a circular effect. For when Von Stroheim went to Metro to film GREED, he eventually found himself face to face once more with Irving Thalberg... and this time Thalberg, who well recalled the financial disaster of FOOLISH WIVES, would have the upper hand. Strongly recommended, not only for the film itself, but for the backstory involved.

GFT, Reviewer


30 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 22 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed