|THE INTERNATIONAL SILENT MOVIE|
1885 - 1957
The actor and director Erich von Stroheim had early a gripping fascination for the audience. His austere, aristocratic appearance and his parts as villains made him a very popular actor who soon was described as "the man you love to hate".
Erich von Stroheim harbored the picture of an imperious officer by adding
"von" to his name and by spreading rumours that he comes froma Prussian
nobility and had had a career as a military officer behind him.
There began his great rise in the film industry when he started with
small roles in 1914 and worked as a director assistant in addition to it.
His great time came when America entered World War I and when there
came many movies into being which dealt which this topis. A German looking
scoundrel was demanded and Erich von Stroheim came up to this request.
From 1919 Erich von Stroheim also began to direct movies. His first film as a director was "Blind Husbands" (19), in which he also appeared as an actor. It followed other melodramatic movies like "The Devil's Passkey" (20) and "Foolish Wives" (22) - in which he again played a role.
Stroheim's movies distinguished by accurate characterization and his
being in love for details which had effects on the quality of costumes,
makeup and others. The result was that his movies swallowed up a lot of
money and a conflict with Universal was only a question of time.
Erich von Stroheim changed to MetroGoldwyn, where he realised his masterpiece
for the screen. "Greed" (25) - where he also appeared as an extra - became
a classic and still today it counts to the greatest works of film history.
Erich von Stroheim got a direction order from the new created MGM for the movie "The Merry Widow" (25). But he overruled the libretto of Franz Lehar and stuffed the movie with debauchery and perversity. It was his farewell song from MGM. The film itself was very popular by the audience and belonged to the five most successful productions of that year.
It lasted three years till Erich von Stroheim could appeare again on
the screen. His first two movies at the end of the 20's presented him as
an actor and director at the same time. "The Wedding March" (28) became
again too long and the American audience could only see the first half
of the story. The second half was called "The Honeymoon" (28) and was only
presented in Europe.
But instead as a director you could see him as a great character actor on the screen in the 30's when von Stroheim turned towards the acting again. He appeared in the movies "Three Faces East" (30), "Friends and Lovers" (31), "The Lost Squadron" (32), "Crimson Romance" (34) and "The Crime of Dr. Crespi" (35) bevore he returned to Europe. There he took part in the movies "L'alibi" (37), "Les pirates de rail" (37) and especially in Jean Renoir's classic "La grand illusion" (37).
With the growing threat of the National Socialists he went to America again and impersonated support roles in "I Was an Adventuress" (30), "So Ends Our Night" (41), "Five Graves to Cairo" (43), "Storm Over Lisbon" (44), "Scotland Yard Investigator" (45) and "The Mask of Dijon" (46).
With the end of the war he returned to Europe for good and appeared
in many French productions like "La foire aux chimères" (46), "On
ne meurt pas comme ça" (46), "Le signal rouge" (48), "Portrait d'un
assassin" (49), "L'envers du paradis" (53) and "Napoléon" (55).
Just before his dead he was admitted to the Legion of Honour in France.
Other movies with Erich von Stroheim
as an actor: