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Thread: Erich von Stroheim

  1. #1
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    Erich von Stroheim

    Griffith, Chaplin, Keaton & DeMille are all silent film giants, but for me, the real "pioneer" for cinema is the great iconoclast Stroheim.

    If you haven't seen his work, then ye gods, get yourself to a serious video store. His films are deliciously decadent- so sinfully sinister that you can't help loving them. He only directed 10 films (he's mainly known as a supporting actor) and only 5 are available on video:

    Blind Husbands
    Foolish Wives
    Greed (originally a 9 hour epic)
    The Wedding March
    Queen Kelly
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Stroheim movies

    Does anyone know an opportunity to buy the in year 1999 restored version (which is longer then the 1925 version) of 'Greed' on DVD?

    thanks for any answer.
    camera guy in Berlin and Vienna

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    The "restored" Greed has been discontinued on VHS, and I don't think it's ever been or will ever be on DVD.

    And it is not really restored. There is no new footage. It is just two hours of projected stills & titles alongside the studio cut.

    A must-see to be sure, but you can't really enjoy the feature with the constant interruptions. We have to make do with what Thalberg gave us.....
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    thanks a lot! I was already enchanted and thought it would be some unkown material added. But its still a great movie even in this ripped version.
    Today, I started studying director of photography in Vienna. I almost feel the atmosphere of seduction and dirty games.
    camera guy in Berlin and Vienna

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    The Stroheim Collection

    Just got the latest issue of Film Comment (a rag I highly recommend, btw) and I saw an advert for Kino's Erich von Stroheim Collection: a 3-DVD collection that looks to be put together with the care these immaculate silents require:


    Blind Husbands
    Foolish Wives
    Queen Kelly

    TEN hours of extras, like "The Man You Love To Hate" & "The Great Gabbo"!

    Thank you, Kino. you've just made my year...
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  6. #6
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    To keep you informed, yes Blind Husbands, Foolish Wives, and Queen Kelly have all been released by Kino on DVD, there are more. The Merry-Go-Round is also available on DVD, and gasp Greed will be released sometime next year. TCM had a vote on their site for which film to release on DVD, and Greed was whooping ass in the votes (I of course voted for it as well).
    Definitely recommend the Kino DVD's all loaded with extras, but my favorite Stroheim film is still awaiting its turn on DVD and that is The Wedding March. Like nearly all his other films this one only exists in half its original length, but it is still a complete picture. What was missing is a second half which seems almost irrelevant. The Wedding March does come to a logical conclusion and it remains not only his most touching film, but also the most stylistically intriguing. Stroheim the innovator was in full swing there, and it is by far his flashiest directorial effort. Shame The Devil's Passkey is completely unavailable, at least to my knowledge. It isn't exactly considered a masterpiece, but it his only film as a director that can't be found. By the way Johann, I have only heard of 9 of his films, what could be the other one he directed?
    By the way the 9th film was co-directed effort with Alan Crosland called Hello Sister! Considered by nearly all sources to be complete garbage. I never really did admire him much as an actor in his own films however. His supporting work in subsequent years was usually quite good, but he never really pulled off the lady killer image he was going to. Then again you can't blaim him for casting himself in that light, because he probably had the most overinflated ego of any director ever.

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    Greed and Foolish Wives are my clear favorites but I haven't seen The Wedding March and remain open minded. Glad to hear Greed is winning the TCM poll, I voted for it too.

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    I think the tenth film in question is The Honeymoon, wpqx.

    It exists in tiny pieces and some stills exist. It will never be released in any form, like The Devil's Pass-Key- which has only stills and a poster to mark it's existence.

    Greed is hands down my favorite silent film. Stroheim had the guts to shoot the final scenes in Death Valley National Park.
    "The measureless leagues of Death Valley..."

    I love the opening:
    Oh cursed Lust of Gold!
    When for thy sake
    The fool throws up his interest in both worlds;
    First, starves in this, then damned in that to come.

    Not to mention the scenes of yearning, helplessness and desperation that goes along with the evil of greed:

    No one to love, none to caress, left alone in this world's wilderness- sung by Mcteague
    -"The world is a wilderness, and even God is lonely in it. We must never be afraid to go too far, for truth lies beyond."

    Stroheim was one of the first poets of cinema, and the massacre of his masterpiece is one of the greatest tragedies in the history of movies.
    Last edited by Johann; 12-13-2005 at 01:49 PM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  9. #9
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    I'm doing a little Stroheim festival at home, vhs tapes from the main library.




    The Merry Widow
    (personally directed by Erich von Stroheim)


    The tag line screamed Let Joy be Unconfined! and who doesn't agree?

    HRH Prince Danilo Petrovich wants some lovin'.


    He is smitten with Sally O'Hara (the Widow), a "sweet little Irish Rose", and he fights for her affections throughout the whole movie.

    His enemy in this pursuit is Crown Prince Mirko, a slimy character.

    We got military pomp and circumstance, waltzes ("Siren Valse" is the centerpiece), romance, footises, rejected advances, the "Stroheim haircut" is prominent, lust, conniving tricks and plots, backstabbing, theatre shows, parties, monocles and horses.

    Mae Murray is Sally, and she got top billing.

    As well she should've- she's a cutie-pie!

    And very well lit. And very well costumed.
    Stroheim honored her perfectly. This film should be seen for her at the very least.

    For a silent film the lighting here is luminous. Mae is given a halo of light for most of her scenes, making her out to be an angel, pursued by horny officers.

    Danilo is a prince, so he is duty bound to the powers that be:
    A Prince belongs to the State, body and soul.

    But he wants to get jiggy with it BAD, so he fools Sally into thinking he's just a regular guy.

    He becomes one at the end, when...



    Mirko spends the whole movie looking like the slimiest piece of shit ever, constantly working to fuck Danilo up.

    WATCH IT!
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  10. #10
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    Just to quickly interject, considering the Classic Film section gets no love, Greed has still not come out on DVD, so perhaps I was misinformed. Matter of fact none of his films have been relased since that Kino Three Pack. Truly a shame, because they did a great job with those. Say what you will about Greed, but my personal favorite is definitely The Wedding March, a film which apparently is missing it's entire second half, but no one seems to care, certainly not as much as they do about the inferior Greed. Part of the problem I had with the Greed reconstruction is the fact that it's hard to appreciate film by looking at still images. It consistently broke the mood. I've never seen the previous version, but I might actually like it better. I had similar problems with the restored Lost Horizon and Cukor's A Star is Born.

  11. #11
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    It kills me that the gorgeous VanCity theatre in Vancouver will be showing the 4- hour (239 min.) version of GREED May 3rd.

    With a live, in-person introduction by Rick Schmidlin, the man who put it all togther! He'll also have the script and other historic items on display in the lobby
    I can only pray that it goes roadshow, over here to Toronto.
    Last edited by Johann; 03-30-2009 at 01:08 PM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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