Prince Wolfram is the betrothed of mad Queen Regina V of Kronberg; her word is law, but he is a playboy. One day, he spies a young woman named Kelly walking with the other students of a convent. He is intrigued by her beauty and wants her…
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what's now showing
What a relief that Von Stroheim shot most of this on chronological order! Though brilliant, the real stand-outs are the 15-20 minutes of African footage, which eclipses anything from the vast majority of Stroheim's work. As Arthur Lennig points out, Stroheim contrasts Europe - Civilization, with Africa - Our human origins. And what are those origins? A Nightmare: A moral Death Valley.
'85 restoration The film that was famously taken away from Von Stroheim and basically ended his directorial career despite the filmography that came before it. His excesses caused friction with star Swanson and spiralled from there. An initially good melodrama that just seems to get worse as it meanders forward and winds up just this side of ridiculous. Swanson is game throughout but is basically the whole show.
Quite a bit is missing from the end - but plot developments from the titles sound intriguing. As is, the film offers some powerful and emotional scenes from Swanson, as a convent girl who falls in love with a prince. The early scene of the prince making his whole regiment follow him as he seduces Kelly on horseback is memorable, with much humour, as is the dramatic whipping the queen gives her in the palace.
My favourite Stroheim's film from the greatest three (meaning Greed and Foolish Wives). It has some hilarious moments, Erich turns out to be a pervert. The ending (which doesn't exist) spoiled it for me though. A whipping scene is a must-see. By the way, you must be wrong in the head if you don't love Gloria Swanson!
What the other listed guys had to do this project? After removing Stroheim from the project, Swanson shot a scene that gives a sense of ending to the scenes of unfinished project. But i never heard about the involvement of other directors.
Visually sumptuous, evocative, striking and all those other great adjectives; but dramatically dull. Partly to blame is obviously the unfinished nature of this film, but even the more complete sequences are rather dull. Am I the only one that felt it got really Lynchian once she went to her Aunt?