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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

About one-fifth of the film's running time constitute the plot of the original operetta. The preceding storyline was concocted by Erich von Stroheim and Benjamin Glazer. See more »

Goofs

A title card reads "a prince has a duty to his country higher then [sic] his duty to himself," a grammatical error unusual for such a prestigious studio as MGM. See more »

Quotes

Prince Danilo Petrovich: You must have had many admirers in your own country - who gave you suppers like this.
Sally - The Merry Widow: You'd be surprised - how many suppers I've run away from - hungry - ! Because my host got fresh.
Prince Danilo Petrovich: Did you always run away - when your host - got fresh?
Sally - The Merry Widow: Always!
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

Referenced in Birth of Hollywood: Episode #1.3 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
They Had Faces Then
10 October 2004 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

A romantic Prince from tiny Monteblanco attempts to woo THE MERRY WIDOW who once loved him when she was a poor dancer.

Erich von Stroheim, the Teutonic genius who marched through Hollywood's Silent Days like a conquering general, had his final directorial stint at MGM Studios producing this lavish & brilliant film based on the operetta by Franz Lehár. The visuals are striking, with sets that look like actual locations--a mountaintop village; the Castellano Cathedral; Maxim's in Paris--and the occasional bizarre touch--the blindfolded musicians sharing the Prince's seduction bed, for example--which von Stroheim relished. The acting is flawless, with no need for dialogue. The actors' faces speak all that need be said.

Mae Murray & John Gilbert portray the passionate lovers whom Fate (and the plot) contrives to keep apart so successfully. Miss Murray (she and the director loathed each other) powerfully portrays a street-wise performer who, through a series of heartbreaks, becomes a vastly wealthy woman. Gilbert expertly plays a prince whose charm has always gotten him his way. Their scenes together, most particularly the waltz sequences, fairly blaze with unrequited sensual longing and desire.

While it is entertaining to wonder what von Stroheim would have done with the role, it is difficult to imagine anyone better than Roy D'Arcy as the simpering, lusting, sneering Crown Prince; he is pure villainy personified and his eventual fate is absolutely justified. Josephine Crowell gives a fine performance as the Queen. Tully Marshall, one of von Stroheim's favorite character actors, adds another portrait to his gallery of grotesques, this time playing a crippled baron with a foot fetish.

The wonderful organ score which accompanies the film was arranged & performed by Dennis James.

MGM would tackle THE MERRY WIDOW again nine years later and produce a vastly different film, this time directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Maurice Chevalier & Jeanette MacDonald.


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