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I have always thought that Erich von Stroheim was the Stanley Kubrick of silent films. There is much that separates them, apart from the time period and the conditions in which they worked; what brings them together is nevertheless their ambition, their thoroughness, almost maniac, in the processes of realization of the films, their wish for independence versus the industrial machinery, and also their taste for formal excess, as well their refined technical wisdom. Regarding his predecessor, Kubrik had the huge luck of success, a situation that allowed him to request and order almost without limits, developing this way a more continuous and popular trajectory than Stroheim. Both of them hold a very significant place in the history of cinema due to their own merits.

Queen Kelly, even in its incomplete and frustrated -considering the original intentions of its author- state, is still a fascinating work; for me the cenit of this great master's career. Mostly located in one of those Central European courts of the unhealthy operettas he liked to evoke, the story of the prince in love with an orphan who ends up as the "madame" of a brothel in Africa does not miss any of the mechanisms of the melodrama, but goes beyond them thanks to the subtile richness of the story, the never gratuitous sumptuousness of the scenery, and the drawing of characters -innocent or twisted- that remain engraved in the memory of the viewer. This film contains some of the capital sequences on the filmography of this Viennese filmmaker, among them, the daring courtship of the main couple around the lingerie of the girl, the kidnapping in the convent, and the expulsion of Kelly from the royal palace. In this cycle we present the movie not with the falseness of the sound version that Gloria Swanson attempted, but could never premier, in 1931, but with the original music written by Adolf Tandler. We will see the totality of the "authetic" material (almost 100 minutes) of the movie that would put Erich von Stroheim's career to an end, at the same time it consecrated him as a dammed, but also imperishable, legend of Hollywood.

Vicente Molina Fox


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