Foolish Wives (1921)
Drama / Silent film with music track
Directed by Erich von Stroheim
Cast: Erich von Stroheim
Notorious womanizer Count Wladyslaw Sergius Karamzin (Erich von Stroheim) rents a magnificent villa in Monte Carlo with his two female ‘cousins’. The decadent trio share the lavish lifestyle available only to fabulously wealthy aristocrats. Beneath the veneer of respectability lurks an ugly secret—the trio are flat broke and finance their sumptuous existence through counterfeiting and the funds the Count is able to glean from the upperclass wives he coldly and very successfully seduces. Learning that the American Ambassador is arriving for a visit, Karamzin schemes to make the politician’s beautiful wife his next victim. Bored and gullible, Mrs. Hughes is the perfect ‘subject’ for the Count’s attentions, but winds up with much more than the adventure she seeks—unleashing disastrous consequences.
Exuding in morality, the monocle Erich von Stroheim gives a stellar performance in Foolish Wives, which he also directed and wrote. Von Stroheim’s pointed critique skewers both American dull-wittedness and European Old World decadence. Billed as the ‘First Million Dollar Movie’, this powerful silent classic still shocks today.
Actors: Erich von Stroheim