From one of the great visionaries of the silent era, Erich von Stroheim’s epic erotic drama Foolish Wives (1922) became another key title signifying the many talents of the Austrian-born star and director.
A trio of Russian con artists take a luxurious villa above Monte Carlo to prey on wealthy marks in this European playground of post-war decadence. Erich von Stroheim (in the monocled role that solidified him as ‘the man you love to hate’) stars as the fraudulent Count Karazmin, who targets moneyed women to blackmail with the help of ‘cousins’ Mae Busch and Maude George. The opulent sets – with the California coast standing in for Monaco – shine in this glorious new restoration.
Brand new restoration by MoMA and San Francisco Silent Film Festival with live accompaniment by Meg Morley.
Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Erich von Stroheim, Miss DuPont, Maude George, Mae Busch
PG / USA / 147 minutes
Foolish Wives is part of Bristol Ideas’ 2022 series Modernism1922 which explores the worlds of film, literature, music, politics and more 100 years ago. It is run as a tribute to Kevin Jackson. His book, Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism and All That Jazz, tells the story of that remarkable year.