The Sunday Intertitle: What Do You Want?

John Gilbert and Mae Murray in THE MERRY WIDOW.

And now, here’s Erich Von Stroheim introducing a screening of the film at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 1958.

“…this film has made for its company four and a half million … though not for me. I had 25% of it. How much do you think I received?

“I thank you once more and ask you to have patience because the film is thirty years old, this print is only a 16mm version projected on too large a screen, and I don’t have the sound or the colour or the Cinerama … I have nothing. And so I have made all the possible excuses that I could think of. All the good things in this film were made by me. The things that are no good in it were made by others…”

From Film Culture, an anthology edited by P. Adams Sitney

5 Responses to “The Sunday Intertitle: What Do You Want?”

  1. bensondonald Says:

    Was this the first Blindfolded-Musicians-At-Seduction scene? Certainly the kinkiest: Two attractive lady musicians, parked on the bed that Gilbert intends to lure Murray into. Even if they confine their participation to ambient melodies, it still adds one or two more layers of sophisticated decadence.

    Do I remember this correctly? There’s at least one shot with Murray and Gilbert coming to grips, so to speak, while we see the musicians casually chatting in the background. Kudos to Erich if that was intentional. It implies this No Biggie to the duo; maybe even a regular gig.

  2. ehrenstein47 Says:

  3. I think this could be the invention of the blidnfolded musicians, but then it could be a variant on an existing meme, since we get new wrinkles on the idea.

    If the musicians talking is any good, it must be Von Stroheim’s idea!

  4. Recently revisited “Scandal in Bohemia” (the Jeremy Brett “Sherlock Holmes” series). That had a blindfolded chamber ensemble playing as the prince and Irene Adler danced very formally. Since the series was usually conscientious about details, wondering if they had more excuse than a cliche to add that to Doyle.

  5. Seems like a very appropriately Bohemian detail…

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