Erich von Stroheim was one-of-a-kind: a serious filmmaker who also became a distinctive, and indelible, screen personality. He’s probably best known today for his role as Gloria Swanson’s faithful servant in Billy Wilder’s 'Sunset Blvd.' While learning about directing as an assistant to D.W. Griffith in the teens, he established himself as a stereotyped “evil Hun” in World War One movies. Universal’s Carl Laemmle gave him a chance to realize his own vision on screen in 'Blind Husbands' (1919) and launched his star-crossed career as a writer-director. Laemmle may have complained about the enormous cost of the lavish 'Foolish Wives' (1922), with its eye-popping Monte Carlo set, but he used that expense (even exaggerating it!) to help promote the movie. Here’s the eye-catching trade ad that first appeared in 'Film Daily,' built on von Stroheim’s familiarity to audiences and theater owners alike.
By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin August 28, 2014 at 12:00AM