Foolish Wives

1922

Action / Drama / Thriller

49
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 76%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 2498

Synopsis


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February 08, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Cast

Erich von Stroheim as Their Cousin - Count Sergius Karamzin - Capt. 3rd Hussars Imper. Russian Army
Mae Busch as Her Cousin - Princess Vera Petchnikoff
720p.BLU
982.55 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 57 min
P/S 2 / 1

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by JohnHowardReid 9 / 10

Must viewing!

Copyright 11 February 1922 by Universal. New York opening at the Central: 11 January 1922. 10 reels. (A 10/10 Kino DV).

COMMENT: Kino's superb restoration of this million dollar drama of a trio of Russian con artists who fasten on the newly appointed U.S. ambassador and his wife in a most extravagant and elaborate studio-reconstructed Monte Carlo, is must viewing even for non-Stroheim fans.

Complete with Sig Romberg's original score and gorgeously tinted photography, the movie holds viewers spellbound from first to last, partly due to the unusual story and its twisted characters and partly due to the drive, yet fastidious attention to detail, of von Stroheim's direction.

Needless to say, the von, meticulously attired from polished boots to rakish cap, has seen to it that he is nearly always the center of interest; but Miss DuPont has some great moments as the wife of the title, and Rudolph Christians (in his last film - he died of pneumonia on 7 February 1921) impresses as the naïve but finally open-eyed spouse.

Reviewed by Hitchcoc 9 / 10

Victims

Apparently Erich von Stroheim never met a roll of film he didn't like. Apparently, if all the footage he filmed had made it to screens, the movie would have lasted several hours. In this, the striking German is a con man. He works Monte Carlo with two "cousins," women who aid him in counterfeiting and bilking unsuspecting women. He is charming and manages to gain their trust. But the problem is that some of them expect marriage or other favors, and he dumps them. He can't resist a pretty (or not so pretty) face and when one of them gets jealous, his plots began to unravel. There is a scene where one of his lovers sees she is not exclusive and sets a fire, trapping Von Stroheim and his mark. This leads to a stick situation. This is an intriguing film and one I had not heard of. Von Stroheim really commands the screen.

Reviewed by Jamie Ward 5 / 10

In need of a good cut

When it comes to the world of cinema, there has never been and probably never will be a bigger villain to make an impact on the screen more than that of—cue ominous stinger—the studio executive. Our oft belittled and antagonised hero, the auteur-director-genius, fights for his art to survive the relentless scissors which hack and cut and simplify and malign his soul's innermost-visions, his heart's dismays and his head's vitriol at a world which sneers at the misunderstood, holier-than-thou artist. The villains play their part well, and live up to their reputations in more cases than not. However, when watching Foolish Wives, one can't help but feel that maybe roles have been reversed for a short while. Erich von Stroheim writes, directs and stars in his first "grand vision" of a film which somewhat fittingly focuses on a leading character with no likable qualities or redeeming features. In the majority of other films, he would be the villain. Unlike Lon Chaney in 1920s gangster flick The Penalty however, this doesn't make the rest of Stroheim's bloated film interesting or in any way enjoyable.

Watching the movie now, with a mere 140 minutes of footage salvaged from the original six hours, it's plain to see why most of the movie was mercilessly cut to ribbons. Often laboriously indulging in his own elaborate sets and painfully uninteresting characters (with the exception of his own), the film goes on and on, only briefly doing something interesting before succumbing back to mundane trivialities that go nowhere slowly. Stroheim does a fair job at portraying his character as dutifully repugnant as was obviously his intent, and his cast of supporting actors and actresses hand in commanding performances when called upon. But in building this self-indulgent attack on what he saw as European hypocrisy, the director comes off as a bit of a sham himself; talking loudly and endlessly about next to nothing of any real significance other than as a means to stroke his own fragmented ego. The moral of the story? The cutting room floor isn't always where genius and art dies. Sometimes it's where overweight, needlessly self-important films go to heaven. There's probably a decent film here, but it was lost in the seventies, not in the twenties.

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