Foolish Wives


Action / Drama / Thriller


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February 08, 2014 at 10:52 AM


Erich von Stroheim as Their Cousin - Count Sergius Karamzin - Capt. 3rd Hussars Imper. Russian Army
Mae Busch as Her Cousin - Princess Vera Petchnikoff
982.55 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 57 min
P/S 6 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by guy-bellinger ([email protected]) 9 / 10

Prince of eccentrics

Lots has been written on the subject and like many others I highly enjoyed the beautiful cinematography, the reconstitution ( both impressive and accurate to the minutest details ), the wit of the titles. However, what actually carried me away is the recurrence of weird finds. In what other movie indeed can you find details like these : - a countess pinching the arm of her maid - a man drinking a calf's blood cocktail first thing in the morning - a US special envoy having trouble in taking off his gloves in front of a prince - a disaster-movie summer storm preventing two would-be sinners from going beyond the point of no return - a wicked hypocrite shedding tears of...TEA ?

Stroheim is really the prince of eccentrics ( and not a bogus one ! ) and we love him for that

Reviewed by gftbiloxi ([email protected]) 9 / 10

Seldom Seen Silent Classic

Today Erich Von Stroheim is best recalled by the general public for his appearances in such films as the 1950 SUNSET BLVD--but fans of silent film know him as one of early cinema's great directors, creator of such films as BLIND HUSBANDS, FOOLISH WIVES, and the legendary masterwork GREED. The film is available in several VHS and DVD releases; perhaps the best, however, is offered by Kino Video, which also includes a profile of Von Stroheim as well.

FOOLISH WIVES is generally believed to be the first film made that cost one million dollars. In the modern era, when film budgets often run into many millions of dollars, this may seem slight--but in 1922 Universal Studios was staggered not only by the costs, but by Von Stroheim's seemingly endless shooting schedule; at a time when most movies were made in six weeks or less, FOOLISH WIVES took a year or more to complete and threatened to bankrupt the studio.

The circumstances brought Von Stroheim into direct conflict with production manager Irving Thalberg, who threatened to replace him with another director. By most accounts, Von Stroheim laughed in Thalberg's face: not only was he director, he was the star as well, and if he were fired the film would never be completed. Thalberg and Universal had little choice but grin and bear it... but it was something Thalberg would recall several years later, much to Von Stroheim's chagrin.

Set in post-World War I Monaco, FOOLISH WIVES presents the story of the ultra-amoral Count Wladislaw Sergius (Von Stroheim) and his two supposed cousins Olga (Maude George) and Vera (Mae Busch) who present themselves as wealthy Russian nobility--but who are in fact a trio of vicious con-artists who generate cash flow by passing counterfeit bills through Monaco's legendary casinos. Eager to deflect suspicion, they scrape acquaintance with an American diplomat and his wife (Rudolph Christians and Helen Hughes)--and in time at all the naive wife is so much putty in the Count's diabolical hands.

Von Stroheim recreated a fairly large chunk of Monaco on the Universal back lot, and the sets, costumes, and crowds of extras still put most modern productions to shame. But the film's real fascination are the deadly trio of Maude George, Mae Busch, and most particularly Von Stroheim himself. Within the first few minutes of the film he contemplates advances upon an attractive but mentally deficient young woman--and as the plot unfolds we discover that he has seduced the maid with a promise of marriage he does not intend to keep. This, of course, does not prevent him from taking her life savings for a little gambling money when the need arises! The overall cast is quite good, with Miss DuPont a stand out as the diplomat's wife, and the cast plays without recourse to the broad mannerisms often seen in many silent films. But what drives the film is our curiosity at how far Von Stroheim will take both the film and his own performance. The answer? Plenty far indeed. It's all fascinating stuff, and truly this is the film that gave Von Stroheim the title of "The Man You Love To Hate." FOOLISH WIVES was soundly condemned by the moral authorities of the day, and Universal lost a bundle on the project. In an effort to recoup some of the loss, the studio cut and then recut the film to a more reasonable length for distribution; as a result, great chunks of the film were lost. While a "complete" version is an impossibility, the Kino version seems to restore the film as completely as possible.

FOOLISH WIVES inevitably pales in comparison to Stroheim's later GREED, but it is a remarkably fine, remarkably watchable silent--and the two films would have a circular effect. For when Von Stroheim went to Metro to film GREED, he eventually found himself face to face once more with Irving Thalberg... and this time Thalberg, who well recalled the financial disaster of FOOLISH WIVES, would have the upper hand. Strongly recommended, not only for the film itself, but for the backstory involved.

GFT, Reviewer

Reviewed by Boba_Fett1138 6 / 10

It just couldn't grab me.

Normally I enjoy watching old movies from the '20's, even the more slower paced one's but this movie just didn't do it for me, although it also is of course far from the worst I have ever seen.

The movie has a good enough story but it isn't exactly the most intriguing or tense stories to follow. Lots of sequences don't seem to have a relevant enough importance. It might have to do with the fact that the original length of the movie was over 6 hours long, which might had shown some of the relevance of certain sequences and characters but there is really no way I'm ever going to watch this longer version. The movie was already overlong as it was. The movie didn't had very much interesting drama in it and although the main character seemed intriguing, it just didn't worked out powerful enough in the movie.

The movie also isn't as technically advanced as some of the other movies from the same time period, clearly directed by more talented and more experimental directors such as F.W. Murnau, Fritz Lang, Victor Sjostrom and D.W. Griffith, among others.

But this all of course doesn't mean that the movie is a bad one to watch. The story of a fake Russian aristocratic lady-killer in Monte Carlo trying to get money from rich ladies as on its own quite a good story and in a way for movie standards also ahead of its time. Many more movies like this one, in many different forms were made and are still being made, many years later now. In this particular case this is a movie I wouldn't mind seeing remade, perhaps also with some more humor in it and a more clear message. The movie also uses some quite good camera positions, on a positive note.

Also the acting is good enough, though Miss DuPont seems heavily miscast as a pretty 21 year young girl. She is too old looking for her role and she also most certainly wasn't pretty enough to find the story very convincing. Same perhaps goes for Dale Fuller. Erich von Stroheim plays the real main part of the movie and he does this with lots of flair. He also wrote and directed the movie. Laurel & Hardy regular Mae Busch shows up in a serious role for a change and it was refreshing to see her like that for a change.

Certainly a watchable movie but really no essential viewing in my opinion.


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