The Merry Widow (1925) - Erich Von Stroheim
With the exception of The Devil's Passkey (which by all accounts doesn't exist) I've now seen every Stoheim film as a director. This was one of the rare films that was actually successful at the time. Odd to think of making an operetta as a silent film, but it worked for Lubitsch why not Stroheim. The film isn't nearly as carefree and light as Lubitsch's sound version, but it is enjoyable at parts. Stroheim's direction however I have issue with. His characters are all horribly rigid and laughable stereotypes. The choice of shots seems to be two fold. Long shot of a lot of people gallivanting about and then grinning face shots as a direct address. It made me easy and led me to hate nearly every single person in the film whether I was supposed to or not. The film is almost too simplistic in it's heroes and villains and the casting is ridiculous for everyone except for Gilbert. Didn't help that the low grade VHS was fuzzy and poor quality, but these things shouldn't detract too much from the film.