In Erich von Stroheim’s directorial debut an Austrian officer sets out to seduce a neglected young wife. In suggesting that a woman had the right to seek love outside of an unsatisfying marriage, the film presents quite an advanced moral viewpoint for its time. The film is considered a masterpiece of silent cinema.
Our spring historical mini season is dedicated to actor and director Erich von Stroheim. Born in 1885 into a Jewish family of hat-makers in Vienna, Stroheim emigrated to the USA in 1909 where became one of the greatest Austrian film directors of the silent era. His reputation for extravagance, insistence on complete artistic freedom regardless of economic considerations, and his uncompromising and sophisticated treatment of controversial subject matters ended his career as a Hollywood director in the late 1920s. He returned to Europe where he took occasional film roles. In 1956 he received L' Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur, the highest French order of civil merits. We honour this extraordinary career with a selection of three rarely screened films.
USA, 1919, 99min, silent with English intertitles, directed by Erich von Stroheim
Full film programme:
Foolish Wives with live music by John Sweeny
Thursday 26 April, 7pm, ACF London
Wednesday 2 May, 7pm, ACF London