Publication Year: 2000
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
This book deals with a complex man, a great man, and certainly a tragic man. It deals with someone who held his artistic mission higher than worldly success, who felt that the integrity of his vision and his undoubted sincerity and even genius would somehow triumph over...
This examination of the life and career of Erich von Stroheim stems from a number of personal factors. During my grade school days, I was drawn to the work of two actors, John Barrymore and Bela Lugosi. Soon, they were joined by Erich von Stroheim, whom I first encountered...
Erich von Stroheim was no mere mortal. To speak of his birthdate, family, schooling, or personal life is to succumb to facts. What is extraordinary about this man is the fiction, a fiction more real than reality. After he left Vienna at age twenty-four to come to America, he...
2. The Ascent
The year 1914 proved no better for the hopeful Erich von Stroheim than the previous ones in America, but soon his fate would change. Stroheim claimed as early as 1919 that he became a lifeguard at Lake Tahoe during the summer of 1914. Even this was probably an exaggeration....
3. The Artist
Stroheim was hardly a youth when he embarked on his directorial career in 1919. At the age of thirty-three, he not only knew the lifestyles of two countries but also had been through two marriages, fatherhood, and four years at the heart of the film industry. He also...
4. Blind Husbands
After Carl Laemmle said "I do" to Stroheim's proposal for Blind Husbands, the fledgling director devoted all his time to smoothing out his shooting script and consulting with the set department. He had innumerable suggestions as to how the "village" ought to look. Although...
5. The Devil's Pass Key
As soon as Blind Husbands, was finished, Universal knew that it had a good picture, possibly a great one, and sensed that the film would do well at the box office. As a consequence, the studio encouraged Stroheim to begin on another. He had no screenplay at hand-his...
6. Foolish Wives
After the critical and financial success of Blind Husbands and the satisfactory completion of The Devil's Pass Key, Stroheim became the close-cropped but fair-haired boy at Universal. The studio announced in January 1920 that Stroheim's next project would be McTeague, starring...
The history of each Stroheim film is a nightmare, but Merry-Go-Round is perhaps the most difficult to discuss, not because of its intellectual complexity but because of its confused authorship. Stroheim's other films--except for Walking down Broadway--were cut and mutilated...
One day prior to 1919, Stroheim's eye fell upon a book called McTeague: A Story of San Francisco, by Frank Norris. The subtitle may have attracted him, because he had lived in that area, but it was the content that held his attention. Here was a story that had guts, honesty,...
9. The Merry Widow
When Stroheim was fired from Merry-Go-Round in the fall of 1922, the Goldwyn Company was in the process of purchasing the rights to Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow, which had proved an extraordinary success since its 1905 premiere in Vienna. With a logic peculiar to...
10. The Wedding March
Shortly after the end of shooting on The Merry Widow, Stroheim ran across a major figure in Hollywood, Pat Powers, who many years before had been a partner of Carl Laemmle at Universal. As a result of his nasty habit of not letting anyone look at company books, Powers was severed from Universal and became an independent...
11. The Honeymoon
The Honeymoon is a difficult film to assess for the simple reason that the sole remaining print was destroyed in 1957. The Devil's Pass Key suffered a similar fate, but this loss is the greater tragedy, for it was a portion of one of Stroheim's greatest works. Fortunately, we can...
12. Queen Kelly
Although Stroheim's artistic connection to The Wedding March had virtually terminated by August 1927, he was not a free agent. He remained under contract to his angry producer, Pat Powers, to make another picture, with an option for two more. In no way did...
13. The Descent
The collapse of Queen Kelly in January 1929 was more than just another unhappy event in Stroheim's directing career. It heralded its end. Like the main character in Blind Husbands, he had fallen from the pinnacle, not to death, but to a life of continued disappointment. As if...
14. Walking down Broadway
Stroheim's well-publicized difficulties with The Wedding March and Queen Kelly and the revocation of his agreement with Universal for a sound version of Blind Husbands had damaged his reputation as a director almost irrevocably. In the Hollywood film industry, a director...
15. The Depths
Beset by financial worries and seemingly banished from directing, Stroheim grew more depressed and more desperate. Director Rouben Mamoulian related to me a strange story about Stroheim at this period. "It's a tale in which I don't particularly shine," he said, "and...
16. A Star in France
While Stroheim was slaving away in MGM's script department in late 1936, having not acted for a major studio for over four years, he received an offer from France to play the typical evil German officer in a film about spies in the First World War called Marthe Richard....
17. America Again
Stroheim's return to Hollywood was not as a victor, but as a loser. The fame, notoriety, and respect that he had enjoyed in France were not to be encountered in a town where he was almost forgotten and that regarded him as a quaint relic from the heady silent...
18. The Last Years
When Stroheim arrived in France on December 5, 1945, he hoped that his career of playing major roles in significant films would resume. But many changes had occurred during the war years. Because American pictures had been banned by the Nazis, and those...
The following list contains all the films in which Stroheim functioned as director, as assistant director, and as actor. His script and novel writing has been covered in the text. The films appear in the order in which they were shot. The dates, generally from the Film Daily Yearbook...
I am listing only the works that directly pertain to this biography. My own collection of well over a thousand books, which I began to acquire in the late 1940s, has been, of course, useful in learning the medium and its methods, but I see no reason to waste the reader's time or mine by...
Page Count: 574
Publication Year: 2000
OCLC Number: 65183451
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Stroheim