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Erich von Stroheim
Sam De Grasse,
"The Wedding March" ended with the marriage between Nikki and the crippled Cecilia takes place. Eberle swears to kills the prince unless Mitzi will agree to marry him. She relents, but at ... See full summary »
Prince Nikki, Lieutenant of the Guard in pre WWI Vienna, is flat broke, but the only advice he gets from his parents is either to shoot himself or to marry money. During the Chorpus Christi parade his horse accidentaly hurts poor Mitzi, the daughter of inn-keepers in a Viennese suburb, who is, according to the wishes of her parents, going to marry the butcher Schani. When Nikki visits her at the hospital, they fall in love, much to the dislike of her parents and Schani. Nikki's parents, meanwhile have arranged a prospective marriage with Cecilia, the limping daughter of a very rich non-aristocratic industrial. Due to the fact, that Nikki's father is a general in the Austrian-Hungarian Army, resitance is useless. When Mitzi, after hearing of it, is still refusing Schani's proposal, he vowes to shoot Nikki when he leaves the church. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
Dashing, Impetuous, Insolent. the playboy of Vienna- handsome, well-born, idol of the ladies- Prince Nicki, portrayed by Erich Von Stroheim. Riotous, color-splashed romance of Vienna. (Print Ad- Steuben Courier,((Bath, NY)) 1 March 1929)
A young impoverished aristocrat falls in love with an inn-keeper's daughter (Fay Wray), but has to marry money.
As was often the case with films directed by Stroheim, the film's accuracy resulted in high expenses and production value. Stroheim rebuilt huge sets for St. Stephen's Cathedral, the streets surrounding it, various palatial rooms and an entire apple orchard with thousands of blossoms individually tied to the trees. Stroheim defended his elaborate set choices by stating "They say I give them sewers — and dead cats! This time I am giving them beauty. Beauty — and apple blossoms! More than they can stand!" Shooting began in June 1926 and lasted until Stroheim was finally shut down by Powers in January 1927. A reporter allowed onto the film's set reported Stroheim's perfectionism and indifference to time and money, and stated that Stroheim once told his cast and crew that if necessary they would film 24,000 takes of a scene until they got it right.
You have to respect this level of dedication, but it was poorly reviewed and I suspect rightfully so. Although now considered a classic and preserved by the Library of Congress, it is aged and not one of the more entertaining films of the era. For me, it is enjoyable to see Fay Wray, and I wish she had become a bigger star. Why is she only known as the King Kong girl? I suspect different copies exist. The one I saw was not in the best condition, and I have to believe a better one exists. This might make the scenery look better and more impressive. I don't know, and I have no intention of returning to this film any time soon.
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