Stroheim was sacked by Irving Thalberg only a little way into the shooting of his last film for Universal, and it was completed by Rupert Julian. Sets and screenplay, however, remain Stroheim's personal achievement; and from the opening sequence, where his Viennese Count hero (Kerry) is observed going through his daily rituals in his leisured environment, it's possible to imagine what Stroheim himself would have done with the rest of the film. The fairground scenes, where the Count meets and falls for the heroine (Philbin), are mostly blown by Julian's direction of his actors. What remains, though, is a strong sense of contrast between the lavish Viennese court and the fairground low-life. If the contrived narrative lacks the conviction Stroheim's attention to detail might have given it, at least his sense of design remains dominant. (The script - uncredited on screen - is usually attributed to Stroheim, rewritten by Rupert Julian and Harvey Gates.
Cast and crew
|Director:||Rupert Julian, Erich von Stroheim|