Foolish Wives

 Live Music/Judith Rosenberg on piano

Erich von Stroheim envisioned l'amour fou as the most powerful agent of the anti-establishment. Foolish Wives pits the lure of "night, procuress of the world, voluptuous, erotic," against that most harried of institutions, marriage. The setting is Monte Carlo, place of "amour, suicide, and waves, waves, waves." There, von Stroheim's Continental confidence man steals the wives of money-mad Americans right out from under their wallets. In its pitiless irony, and shot against craggy Mediterranean cliffs outside the "Villa Amorosa" where the once-rich now cavort like skeletons in drag, Foolish Wives looks forward to Buñuel's L'age d'or. “Never was a film more revolutionary,” wrote Henri Langlois; “Stroheim opened the way for contemporary cinema.”

Written and Directed by Erich von Stroheim. Photographed by Ben Reynolds and William Daniels. With Erich von Stroheim, Maude George, Mae Busch. (1921, 120 mins, silent, Print from PFA collection)