The Merry Widow (1925 film)

The Merry Widow
Directed by Erich von Stroheim
Produced by Erich von Stroheim
Irving Thalberg (uncredited)
Written by Erich von Stroheim
Benjamin Glazer
Based on The Merry Widow
by Franz Lehár
Starring Mae Murray
John Gilbert
Roy D'Arcy
Music by William Axt (uncredited)
David Mendoza (uncredited)
Franz Lehár (non-original music)
Cinematography Oliver T. Marsh
William H. Daniels
Edited by Frank E. Hull
Margaret Booth (uncredited)
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
August 26, 1925 (1925-08-26)
Running time
137 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $592,000
Box office $1.5 million[1]

The Merry Widow is a 1925 American silent romantic drama/black comedy film directed and written by Erich von Stroheim. Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film stars Mae Murray, John Gilbert and Roy D'Arcy.[2][3] The film is based on the Franz Lehár's opera of the same name and was the second adaptation of the opera, the first being released in Hungary in 1918. Joan Crawford and Clark Gable also had uncredited roles in the film.

While a print of the film still survives, the end sequence shot in two-tone Technicolor is now lost.[4]


Prince Danilo falls in love with dancer Sally O'Hara. His uncle, King Nikita I of Monteblanco forbids the marriage because she is a commoner. Thinking she has been jilted by her prince, Sally marries old, lecherous Baron Sadoja, whose wealth has kept the kingdom afloat. When he dies suddenly, Sally must be wooed all over again by Danilo.



Selected cast that were uncredited:


The film was shot over twelve weeks with a budget of $592,000. Filming was tense as Mae Murray and the film's director, Erich von Stroheim, did not get along.


Upon its release, the film was both a critical and box office success. Critics praised Murray's dramatic skills while also noting that von Stroheim had "made an actress out of Miss Murray".[5] The film made a profit of $758,000.[6]

Other adaptations

The Merry Widow was adapted for the screen in 1934, 1952, 1962 and 1994.

See also


  1. Quigley Publishing Company "The All Time Best Sellers", International Motion Picture Almanac 1937-38 (1938) p 942 accessed 19 April 2014
  2. Variety film review; September 2, 1925, page 36.
  3. Harrison's Reports film review; September 12, 1925, page 147.
  4. "Cinema", TIME, September 14, 1925
  5. Ankerich, Michael G. (2012). Mae Murray: The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 166–168. ISBN 0-813-14038-2.
  6. Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 99
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