Combustible Celluloid
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With: Norman Kerry, Mary Philbin, Dale Fuller, Maude George, Cesare Gravina, George Hackathorne
Written by: Finis Fox, Harvey Gates, Mary O'Hara, Erich von Stroheim
Directed by: Rupert Julian, Erich von Stroheim
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 114
Date: 07/01/1923

Merry-Go-Round (1923)

3 Stars (out of 4)

'Von' Songs

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

For his fourth film, Merry-Go-Round (1923, Image Entertainment, $24.99), Erich von Stroheim suffered a new kind of humiliation; he was fired. According to historians, Stroheim finished about 14 minutes of footage that are actually incorporated into the 110-minute final product. Director Rupert Julian (The Phantom of the Opera) took over and received sole credit, re-writing Stroheim's script and softening its edges.

Still, the usual Stroheim touches are there: in pre-war Vienna, a womanizing count who wears a uniform and sports Stroheim's pointy haircut meets and falls in love with a carnival organ-grinder on the eve of his wedding. Stroheim's original scenes stand out: the count's fianc´┐Że smoking a cigar, a dog enjoying the count's bathwater, and a raucous party with a semi-naked girl jumping out of a punch bowl. (Kino's Queen Kelly disc includes a helpful guide as to Stroheim's actual involvement.)

Image's new disc restores the film using the best possible elements, which in this case was two 16mm prints, and the result looks great. The disc contains no extras.

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