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Throwback Thursday: Von Stroheim!

Throwback Thursday: Von Stroheim!

Erich von Stroheim was one-of-a-kind: a serious filmmaker who also became a distinctive, and indelible, screen personality. He’s probably best known today for his role as Gloria Swanson’s faithful servant in Billy Wilder’s ‘Sunset Blvd.’ While learning about directing as an assistant to D.W. Griffith in the teens, he established himself as a stereotyped “evil Hun” in World War One movies. Universal’s Carl Laemmle gave him a chance to realize his own vision on screen in ‘Blind Husbands’ (1919) and launched his star-crossed career as a writer-director. Laemmle may have complained about the enormous cost of the lavish ‘Foolish Wives’ (1922), with its eye-popping Monte Carlo set, but he used that expense (even exaggerating it!) to help promote the movie.  Here’s the eye-catching trade ad that first appeared in ‘Film Daily,’ built on von Stroheim’s familiarity to audiences and theater owners alike.

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I love his Wedding March, I wish it would be put out on Blu-ray or dvd.


Looking at the poster begs the question,"Would you buy a car from this man?"..With many of these films that were made during that time, I have to wonder ,what were they thinking ?

Terry Bigham

Billy Wilder told the story of his first meeting von Stroheim when he played Rommel in Wilder's second film "Five Graves to Cairo", when von Stroheim was testing for wardrobe: "I clicked my heels and said: 'Isn't it ridiculous, little me directing you? You were always ten years ahead of your time.' And he replied, 'Twenty!'"

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