The Merry Widow (1925 film)
The Merry Widow is a 1925 American silent romantic drama/black comedy film directed and written by Erich von Stroheim. Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film stars Mae Murray, John Gilbert, Roy D'Arcy, and Tully Marshall, with pre-fame uncredited appearances by Joan Crawford and Clark Gable.
|The Merry Widow|
|Directed by||Erich von Stroheim|
|Produced by||Erich von Stroheim|
Irving Thalberg (uncredited)
|Written by||Erich von Stroheim|
|Based on||The Merry Widow|
by Franz Lehár
Victor Léon (libretto)
Leo Stein (libretto)
|Music by||William Axt (uncredited)|
David Mendoza (uncredited)
Franz Lehár (non-original music)
|Cinematography||Oliver T. Marsh|
William H. Daniels
|Edited by||Frank E. Hull|
Margaret Booth (uncredited)
|August 26, 1925|
|Language||Silent (English intertitles)|
|Box office||$1.9 million|
While a print of the film still survives, the end sequence shot in two-tone Technicolor is now lost.
Prince Danilo falls in love with dancer Sally O'Hara. His uncle, King Nikita I of Monteblanco, forbids the marriage because she is a commoner. Thinking she has been jilted by her prince, Sally marries the old and lecherous Baron Sadoja, whose wealth has kept the kingdom afloat. When he dies suddenly, Sally must be wooed all over again by Danilo.
- Mae Murray as Sally O'Hara
- John Gilbert as Prince Danilo Petrovich
- Roy D'Arcy as Crown Prince Mirko
- Josephine Crowell as Queen Milena
- George Fawcett as King Nikita I
- Tully Marshall as Baron Sixtus Sadoja
- Edward Connelly as Baron Popoff (ambassador)
Selected cast that were uncredited:
- Helen Howard Beaumont as Chorus girl
- Gertrude Bennett as Hard-Boiled Virginia
- Bernard Berger as Boy
- Sidney Bracey as Danilo's footman
- Estelle Clark as French barber
- Albert Conti as Danilo's adjutant
- D'Arcy Corrigan as Horatio
- Joan Crawford as Extra
- Xavier Cugat as Orchestra leader
- Anielka Elter as Blindfolded musician
- Dale Fuller as Sadoja's chambermaid
- Clark Gable as Ballroom dancing extra
- Edna Tichenor as Dopey Marie
The film was shot over twelve weeks with a budget of $592,000. Filming was tense as Mae Murray and the film's director, Erich von Stroheim, did not get on well. After production, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer decided it could no longer work with the director after he added sexually explicit scenes and changed the operetta's libretto.
Upon its release, the film was both a critical and box office success. Critics praised Murray's dramatic skills while also noting that von Stroheim had "made an actress out of Miss Murray". The film made a profit of $758,000.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- Variety film review; September 2, 1925, page 36.
- Harrison's Reports film review; September 12, 1925, page 147.
- "Cinema", TIME, September 14, 1925
- Sullivan, Chris (February 2019). "Erich Von Stroheim". Chap. Spring 2019: 23–27.
- Ankerich, Michael G. (2012). Mae Murray: The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 166–168. ISBN 0-813-14038-2.
- Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 99
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