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HISTORY

The picture was based on 1905 operetta Die lustige witwe , music by Franz Lehar, book and lyrics by Victor Leon and Leo Stein. Additional film adaptations were released in 1907, 1934, and 1952, all under the title The Merry Widow (see entries).
       The 24 Apr 1924 FD announced the forthcoming Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M) release, The Merry Widow, set to star Mae Murray. Two months later, the 26 Jun 1924 FD reported that Erich von Stroheim would direct the picture.
       According to the 13 Sep 1924 Exhibitors Trade Review, von Stroheim was also writing the adaptation, and principal photography was scheduled to begin in one month. The 20 Sep 1924 Moving Picture World stated that filmmakers were still searching for an actor to portray “Prince Danilo,” and indicated that the casting, along with the completion of von Stroheim’s script, were causing delays in the start of production.
       On 18 Oct 1924, Erich von Stroheim announced in Moving Picture World that the screenplay, written with the collaboration of Benjamin Glazer, was at last completed. The 9 Nov 1925 FD reported that John Gilbert had been cast as Prince Danilo.
       Despite several reports from various sources throughout Nov 1924 that production was about to begin, the 10 Dec 1924 Var stated that principal photography was finally underway at the M-G-M Studios in Culver City, CA.
       Five hundred background actors were used for the Ambassador Ball scenes in The Merry Widow, according to the 7 Mar 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review. An item in the 8 Mar 1925 FD ... More Less

The picture was based on 1905 operetta Die lustige witwe , music by Franz Lehar, book and lyrics by Victor Leon and Leo Stein. Additional film adaptations were released in 1907, 1934, and 1952, all under the title The Merry Widow (see entries).
       The 24 Apr 1924 FD announced the forthcoming Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M) release, The Merry Widow, set to star Mae Murray. Two months later, the 26 Jun 1924 FD reported that Erich von Stroheim would direct the picture.
       According to the 13 Sep 1924 Exhibitors Trade Review, von Stroheim was also writing the adaptation, and principal photography was scheduled to begin in one month. The 20 Sep 1924 Moving Picture World stated that filmmakers were still searching for an actor to portray “Prince Danilo,” and indicated that the casting, along with the completion of von Stroheim’s script, were causing delays in the start of production.
       On 18 Oct 1924, Erich von Stroheim announced in Moving Picture World that the screenplay, written with the collaboration of Benjamin Glazer, was at last completed. The 9 Nov 1925 FD reported that John Gilbert had been cast as Prince Danilo.
       Despite several reports from various sources throughout Nov 1924 that production was about to begin, the 10 Dec 1924 Var stated that principal photography was finally underway at the M-G-M Studios in Culver City, CA.
       Five hundred background actors were used for the Ambassador Ball scenes in The Merry Widow, according to the 7 Mar 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review. An item in the 8 Mar 1925 FD indicated that the coronation sequences would be filmed in “natural colors.” The 23 May 1925 Moving Picture World confirmed that several scenes were filmed in Technicolor, and deemed them “remarkable” enough to “make an audience gasp.”
       Principal photography was completed on 15 Mar 1925, according to that day’s FD.
       The 28 Mar 1925 Moving Picture World listed Beatrice Prior as the actress who portrayed “Queen Milena” of Romania’s double in the “Monteblancan court scenes.”
       The 14 Jun 1925 FD announced that The Merry Widow would premiere in New York City as the debut film of Broadway’s new 600-seat Embassy Theatre, but a release date was not stated. On 27 Aug 1925, FD reported that the picture opened the previous evening at the Embassy, managed by the first woman “directess of a picture theater,” Gloria Gould. The film’s run would continue “indefinitely,” with tickets ranging from $1.10 to $2.20.
       The 30 Aug 1925 FD review praised von Stroheim’s “superb direction,” and deemed the picture a “magnificent piece of entertainment,” despite a minor criticism about the length of the film. The Merry Widow was voted one of the “Top Best Features” of 1925 by the 1929 Film Daily Year Book, as reported in the 7 Feb 1930 FD. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Trade Review
13 Sep 1924
p. 22.
Exhibitors Trade Review
22 Nov 1924
p. 43.
Exhibitors Trade Review
7 Mar 1925
p. 33.
Film Daily
24 Apr 1924
p. 1.
Film Daily
26 Jun 1924
p. 1.
Film Daily
9 Nov 1924
p. 6.
Film Daily
28 Nov 1924
p. 2.
Film Daily
8 Mar 1925
p. 12.
Film Daily
15 Mar 1925
p. 6.
Film Daily
14 Jun 1925
p. 1.
Film Daily
27 Aug 1925
p. 1.
Film Daily
30 Aug 1925
p. 4.
Film Daily
7 Feb 1930
p. 8.
Life
1 Oct 1925
p. 24.
Moving Picture World
20 Sep 1924
p. 210.
Moving Picture World
18 Oct 1924
p. 598.
Moving Picture World
15 Nov 1924
p. 255.
Moving Picture World
28 Mar 1925
p. 386.
Moving Picture World
23 May 1925
p. 452.
Moving Picture World
12 Sep 1925
p. 168.
New York Times
27 Aug 1925
p. 14.
Variety
10 Dec 1924
p. 33.
Variety
2 Sep 1925
p. 36.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Settings
Settings
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus score
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the operetta Die lustige witwe , music by Franz Lehar, book and lyrics by Victor Leon and Leo Stein (Vienna, 28 Dec 1905).
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 August 1925
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 26 August 1925 at the Embassy Theatre
Production Date:
early December 1924--15 March 1925
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Copyright Date:
14 September 1925
Copyright Number:
LP21826
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black & white with color sequences
Length(in feet):
10,027
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Prince Danilo and Crown Prince Mirko of the Kingdom of Monteblanco meet Sally O'Hara, a follies girl on tour, and both seek to win her favor. Favoring Danilo, Sally accepts his proposal to dinner, and he does his charming best to seduce her. Mirko finds them in a compromising situation, and Danilo, overcome by genuine love for Sally, announces his intention of making her his wife. The king and queen prevent the marriage, and Sally, believing that Danilo has jilted her, spitefully marries Baron Sadoja, the richest man in the kingdom. The Baron dies of excitement on their wedding night, and Sally goes to Paris, where she becomes known as "The Merry Widow." Mirko later follows her there with the intention of seeking her hand and fortune in marriage. Danilo goes also, and Sally agrees to marry Mirko to further torment him. Danilo strikes Mirko, and a duel is arranged. Believing that Sally loves Mirko, Danilo allows the crown prince to shoot him. Danilo is only wounded, however, and discovers then that Sally loves him still. The king dies, the crown prince is assassinated, and Danilo becomes king, taking Sally as his ... +


Prince Danilo and Crown Prince Mirko of the Kingdom of Monteblanco meet Sally O'Hara, a follies girl on tour, and both seek to win her favor. Favoring Danilo, Sally accepts his proposal to dinner, and he does his charming best to seduce her. Mirko finds them in a compromising situation, and Danilo, overcome by genuine love for Sally, announces his intention of making her his wife. The king and queen prevent the marriage, and Sally, believing that Danilo has jilted her, spitefully marries Baron Sadoja, the richest man in the kingdom. The Baron dies of excitement on their wedding night, and Sally goes to Paris, where she becomes known as "The Merry Widow." Mirko later follows her there with the intention of seeking her hand and fortune in marriage. Danilo goes also, and Sally agrees to marry Mirko to further torment him. Danilo strikes Mirko, and a duel is arranged. Believing that Sally loves Mirko, Danilo allows the crown prince to shoot him. Danilo is only wounded, however, and discovers then that Sally loves him still. The king dies, the crown prince is assassinated, and Danilo becomes king, taking Sally as his queen. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.