“Count” Karamzin, a Don Juan is with his cousins in Monte Carlo, living from faked money and the money he gets from rich ladies, who are attracted by his charmes and his title or his militaristic and aristocratic behaviour. He tries to have success with Mrs Hughes, the wife of the new US ambassador. –IMDb
The son of a Jewish hat manufacturer, born in Vienna, Erich Oswald Von Stroheim moved from running his father’s factory to the pinnacle of the Hollywood community as a director, only to fall hard due to his extravagant approach to filmmaking and end up as a peripheral figure. Von Stroheim came to America during the first decade of the twentieth century and supported himself in various jobs before coming to Hollywood in 1914. He was a bit player in several films, and became a member of D.W. Griffith’s stock company, parlaying his experience as a bit player into a job as assistant director and military advisor (he had served briefly in the Austro-Hungarian Army) — he moved into greater prominence in 1917 with American entry into World War I, portraying villainous Prussian officers. He moved into the director’s chair at Universal, where he proved a virtual one-man show at first, providing original story, deigning sets, and starring in several of his own films. He quickly showed a talent… read more
Has anyone ever been as drunk on cinema as Stroheim here? Daring in so many ways, this was almost certainly a profound masterpiece in its original form, but the "skeleton" that remains begs a bit of research and a dose of imagination in order to conjure that vision. Plenty of great filmmaking is intact, but the film as it exists now defies full appreciation under casual viewing.
There's some really fantastic filmmaking here. That's what I love about the silents, such a wide ground for brewing up these very dreamy and deep worlds in ways that even the best (and most illusory) CGI still cannot compare to this day. It's a disgrace von Stroheim's films suffered butchery the way they had, as we my have maintained a greater degree of appreciation for such rich, sprawling pieces to this day.
Overlong but never boring third film from Von Stroheim. A trio of Russian shysters posing as nobility in Monte Carlo pick an American couple as their next cover/conquest with disastrous results. Von Stroheim's performance as Count Karamzin is quite affecting as is his visual sense as a filmmaker well captured here by dp(s) Daniels and Reynolds. An interesting curio.