The Great Gabbo

“A terrible movie with a compelling performance by Stroheim who plays a near-mad ventriloquist - alternately bullying and pining for Betty Compson. The sparkling photography and good sound recording do little to compensate for James Cruze's leadfooted direction, but the musical numbers are sublimely ridiculous. The set for one has huge op art mobiles revolving over a mountain range; in another, scantily-clad chorines tangle in a huge spider's web, a chorus of flowers in fright wigs sings tunelessly, ‘Caught in a Web of Love,' and the two principals leap athletically across the stage, pausing to whisper audibly to each other about their current marital conflict. When a film is as bad as this, it becomes richly enjoyable. And Stroheim's performance is both another stereotype (white satin suits with row of medals, untouched orders of caviar, heel clicking and handkissing) and a moving study in madness.”

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