100 Years of… Foolish Wives

The Count and Princess Vera

When Foolish Wives debuted in 1922, its writer/director/star Erich von Stroheim was at the peak of his popularity, having exploited anti-German sentiment during the First World War by playing a despicable Hun doing despicable things in a series of films. “The man you love to hate,” was his moniker, one gained in 1918 in the film The Heart of Humanity, where he plays a ruthless German officer who throws a baby out of the window so he can better get on with raping a Red Cross nurse. That’ll do it. Foolish Wives works the same seam, though, the war over and the Russian revolution grabbing more headlines, von Stroheim is now playing a … Read more

La Grande Illusion

Erich Von Stroheim in La Grande Illusion

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     11 November     First World War ends, 1914 On this day in 1914, hostilities officially ceased on the Western Front (which ran through Belgium, north-eastern France and Alsace-Lorraine – then German, now French), effective 11am. Though the First World War is often described as a victory of the allied powers, officially the result was a draw – the fighting between all concerned was simply called off. Though of course Germany had been beaten and in the Peace of Versailles, the Treaty arranged shortly afterwards, the looseness of this technical distinction became clear – Germany lost territory, its … Read more

Greed

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    Hollywood’s first wave of film makers were the real deal – egomaniacs, showmen and charlatans. The director of Greed was all of those. Erich Von Stroheim was born plain Erich Oswald Stroheim in Vienna but by the time he got to Hollywood in 1914 he’d become Count Erich Oswald Hans Carl Maria Von Stroheim Und Nordenwall. Learning film-making on the grandest scale from D.W. Griffith, Stroheim first made his name as an actor playing “the man you love to hate”, notably throwing a baby out of a window in The Heart of Humanity. He then bought a riding crop, donned leather boots and a monocle and moved on to directing. 1924’s … Read more