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The Merry Widow (1925)

Not Rated | | Drama , Romance | 25 January 1926 (UK)
A prince must woo the now wealthy dancer he once abandoned in order to keep her money in the country in order to keep it from crashing economically.

Director:

Erich von Stroheim

Writers:

Erich von Stroheim (screen adaptation and scenario), Benjamin Glazer (screen adaptation and scenario) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Mae Murray ... Sally - The Merry Widow
John Gilbert ... Prince Danilo Petrovich
Roy D'Arcy ... Crown Prince Mirko
Josephine Crowell ... Queen Milena
George Fawcett ... King Nikita
Tully Marshall ... Baron Sadoja
Edward Connelly ... Ambassador
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Storyline

Prince Danilo falls in love with dancer Sally O'Hara. His uncle, King Nikita I of Monteblanco forbids the marriage because she is a commoner. Thinking she has been jilted by her prince, Sally marries old, lecherous Baron Sadoja, whose wealth has kept the kingdom afloat. When he dies suddenly, Sally must be wooed all over again by Danilo. Written by David Eickemeyer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

25 January 1926 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Viúva Alegre See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$608,016 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$879,399, 31 December 1926
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Color (2-strip Technicolor) (one sequence)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the most expensive scenes to be filmed, a champagne-fueled orgy with numerous under-dressed chorus girls, was cut for censorship reasons. See more »

Goofs

Barbasetti wrote two books on the art of fencing; it is questionable that he wrote a widely accepted code on the rules of duels, especially duelling with hand guns. See more »

Quotes

Crown Prince Mirko: Baroness - looks *remarkably* well tonight.
Sally - The Merry Widow: Your Royal Highness is unusually kind - - tonight.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The version shown on the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) channel has the musical score arranged by Dennis James and performed by him on a Möller pipe organ. It is shown at a proper silent movie speed and runs 137 minutes. See more »

Connections

Version of La veuve joyeuse (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Torrid Mae Murray and John Gilbert
3 April 2006 | by drednmSee all my reviews

Superb film by Erich von Stroheim who "personally directed" this lush and romantic blockbuster starring Mae Murray and John Gilbert.

Gilbert plays a European prince who falls for American "danseuse" Murray. Of course his leering cousin the Crown prince (Roy D'Arcy) also has a yen for blonde Murray. The boys clash but Murray prefers Gilbert until he is tricked into jilting her at the altar. She then marries the nation's leading banker (Tully Marshall) who has a foot fetish. He croaks of their wedding night and she becomes "The Merry Widow," a notorious party goer and high liver.

The lovers meet again at Maxim's in Paris where Murray pretends to prefer the oozing D'Arcy. Gilbert gets drunk. On a morning horse ride Murray and D'Arcy come across Gilbert sprawled drunk by the roadside. In a fit, Gilbert strikes the loathsome prince and is challenged to a duel. Murray races to the fog-ridden gunfest but Gilbert has already been shot.

Von Stroheim, notorious for his excesses in GREED is more constrained with THE MERRY WIDOW but still manages some startlingly decadent touches. Murray is fabulous as a the dancer and gets one whole routine to herself a la Martha Grahame as well as the striking and sensual waltz with Gilbert. Gilbert seethes with masculinity and lust for Murray. They are quite a couple. Von Stroheim gives each star maximum close-ups to great effect. Murray has two grand entrances: one in black gown and diamonds for a royal ball; a second all in white fur cape and feathers for her entrance at Maxim's.

The film is highly dramatic, romantic, and sensual but manages touches of humor. A real feast. George Fawcett is the old king; Josephine Crowell is the queen.

In 1925 John Gilbert would have been a shoe in for a best actor Oscar between his performances in THE MERRY WIDOW and THE BIG PARADE. Murray would likely have been a best actress contender. Great film.


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