Starring Norman Kerry and Mary Philbin
Erich Von Stroheim played a large part in the creation and making of "Merry-Go-Round," despite the fact that the film itself fails to make mention of it. Von Stroheim wrote the story and started the production which was completed by Rupert Julian.
Von Stroheim started out with an ordinary story, but he invested it with symbolism and more than one touch of the mellow old-world cynicism of Molnar and Schnitzler. In the hands of Julian the opus lost some of its Continental gloss. It became an "Affair of Anatol." yet, with all this, "Merry-Go-Round" is decidedly different. it is permeated with the flashing, decadent atmosphere of Vienna in the gay days before the world war put its crushing boot upon the capital of the totering empire.
A lieutenant of the royal court of Franz Joseph is fascinated by a little organ grinder of the Prater, the Coney Island of Vienna. At first only a passing fancy of a cynical young boulevardier, the girl becomes the dominating force of his life. he is forced into a court-made marriage, but the war comes to liberate him and make him realize the essentials of life stripped to its realities. Von Stroheim, we suspect, started out to show that life is a merry-go-round, rolling pleasantly in a circle. In it present form, "Merry-Go-Round" shows that life, after all, leads right up the conventional sunset fadeout, with the usual clutch, the usual back lighting and the usual garden.
"Merry-Go-Round" is very well played, indeed. Norman Kerry is the lieutenant who becomes regenerated. His is a surprisingly good performance, the best he has ever given the screen. For the sophisticated only.
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