Fun Size Review: The Merry Widow (1925)

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Mae Murray is a brassy American gal who catches the eye of pretty much every eligible bachelor in a sleazy little Mittel-European city state. Erich von Stroheim’s most accessible film, it contains excellent performances from both Murray and leading man John Gilbert. In the minus column, von Stroheim’s tedious “sophistication” that, at a glance, is indistinguishable from that of a fourteen-year-old boy with his dad’s lad mags.

(You can read my full-length review here.)

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[toggler title=”How does it end? (click here for a spoiler)” ]Gilbert gets shot but not badly. He and Murray marry and she gets to be queen. I wonder if this is what gave Wallis Simpson notions.[/toggler]

If it were a dessert it would be:

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A Gold Leaf Sundae. Gaudy and gilded but at it’s core, it’s just chocolate ice cream. Still, chocolate ice cream, yum!

Availability: Warner Archive released a very nice print on DVD with a Lehar-infused score. The whole ball of wax.

Silent Movie Time Capsule: John Gilbert’s daughter posed with her mother, Leatrice Joy

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Here is a lovely image from 1925 (published in Photoplay) of Leatrice Joy posing with Leatrice, Jr. Little Leatrice’s father was, of course, John Gilbert.

A quick note on the name that mother and daughter share. According to IMDB, Leatrice was going to be Beatrice until her mother remembered that her baby’s father had an old flame named Beatrice. So, she went down the alphabet until she found a letter that would change the name but keep the basic sound.

Leatrice, Sr. was a charming comedienne and one of the most stylish women of the silent screen. If you want to see the twenties roar, she is your girl.

Leatrice, Jr. would go on the be an author and one of her father’s staunchest defenders. She was instrumental in debunking the pernicious myth that John Gilbert’s career died because he had a funny voice. Hats off to her!