Vienna in the biggest depression, directly after WW1. In a slum, Lila Leid, the wife of lawyer Leid is murdered, Egon, secretary of one of Leid's clients is arrested. He was with her, and ... See full summary »
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
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
"Manhattan Follies" dancer Mae Murray (as Sally O'Hara) attracts much male attention while touring the "Kingdom of Monteblanco," especially from sexually aggressive John Gilbert (as Danilo Petrovich) and Roy D'Arcy (as Prince Mirko). Soon, Mr. Gilbert's lunging leers turn to love, and Ms. Murray succumbs to his charms. However, Royal rulers Josephine Crowell (as Queen Milena) and George Fawcett (as King Nikita I) are against Gilbert's proposed marriage. Feeling jilted, Murray marries grotesque banker Tully Marshall (as Sixtus Sadoja), who promptly kicks the bucket. Newly rich, Murray becomes "The Merry Widow" of Paris. There, Mr. D'Arcy seems to win her affections, but Gilbert hasn't given up the courtship.
With this film, big-spending director Erich von Stroheim showed he could make an entertaining and innovative crowd-pleaser; his previous "Greed" (1924) had run over-budget (and over eight hours). But, although they had their hoped-for hit, MGM had also had enough of Mr. Stroheim; still, he departed on a high. "The Merry Widow" also helped rejuvenate Murray's fading career, albeit briefly. The cast is superlative, with D'Arcy essaying one of his most memorable roles. Perfectly representing Stroheim's famous foot fetish, Mr. Marshall is one of silent filmdom's forgotten treasures. Most of all, the flicker put Gilbert on the road to superstardom, which he cemented with a winning performance in "The Big Parade" (later in 1925).
Spotting Clark Gable and Joan Crawford as extras isn't as easy as counting Stroheim's foot references.
******** The Merry Widow (8/26/25) Erich von Stroheim ~ Mae Murray, John Gilbert, Roy D'Arcy, Tully Marshall
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