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  Gloria Swanson (center) in a scene missing from the surviving film.
Photograph: Silent Era image collection.
Queen Kelly
(1929) American
B&W : Eight reels
Directed by Erich von Stroheim + [Richard Boleslawski, Edmund Goulding, Sam Wood and Irving Thalberg]

Cast: Gloria Swanson [Patricia ‘Kitty’ Kelly], Walter Byron [Prince Wolfram von Hohenberg Falsenstein], Seena Owen [Queen Regina V], Sidney Bracy (Sidney Bracey) [Prince Wolfram’s valet], Wilhelm von Brincken [Prince Wolfram’s adjutant], Tully Marshall [Jan Vryheid]; Madge Hunt [the mother superior], Wilson Benge [Prince Wolfram’s valet], Lucille van Lent [Prince Wolfram’s maid], Florence Gibson [Kelly’s aunt], Madame Sul-Te-Wan [Kali Sana], Rae Daggett [‘Coughdrops,’ the tubercular prostitute], Ann Morgan [nun; and maid escorting Kelly to altar], Gordon Westcott [lackey], [?] Sylvia Ashton?

Gloria Productions, Incorporated, production; distributed by United Artists Corporation. / Produced by Gloria Swanson and Joseph P. Kennedy. Scenario by Erich von Stroheim + [Delmer Daves, Edmund Goulding and Paul L. Stein (various rewrites)], from the screen story “The Swamp” by Erich von Stroheim. Production managers, William LeBaron and Benjamin Glazer. Production design by Harold Miles + [Richard Day and Erich von Stroheim]. Costume design by Max Rée + [Erich von Stroheim and Richard Day. Assistant directors, Eddy Sowders and Louis Germonprez. Cinematography by Paul Ivano and Gordon Pollack + [Ben F. Reynolds, Hal Mohr, William H. Daniels and Gregg Toland (various reshoots)]. Camera assistant, William Margulies. Intertitles by Marian Ainslee. Edited [1932 version] by Viola Lawrence. Music [1932 version] by Adolf Tandler (Adolph Tandler). Sound recorder [1932 version], Vinton Vernon. / © 1931 by Gloria Swanson Pictures Corporation, Limited. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.33:1 format. Western Electric sound. / Working title: The Swamp. With a budget of $800,000, the production was shot from 1 November 1928 through 21 January 1929 at a cost of $400,000 at the time production shooting was halted by Swanson. More than 200,000 feet of footage was directed by von Stroheim, with little more than one-third of the scenario shot. Synchronized sound retakes were shot on 9 December 1929. Franz Lehár was hired, at one stage in the rewrite stage, to compose music for the film, but that work was never completed or used. On 24 November 1931, a rewritten ending in which the prince discovers that Kelly has successfully committed suicide by drowning was shot by cinematographer Gregg Toland. This version was released in 1932 in runs that were limited to Europe and South America due to a clause in Stroheim’s contract. [?] Weinberg-Stroheim lists Ashton in the role of Kelly’s aunt in Africa. A restoration of the film was produced by Dennis Doros of Kino International in 1985. / Silent film.


Synopsis: Synopsis (by Stroheim) available in Weinberg-Stroheim p. 212.

Survival status: Prints exist in the Cinémathèque française film archive [35mm positive (two reels from the African sequence)]; in the George Eastman Museum film archive [35mm positive]; and in the Kino Lorber film library [35mm preservation positives].

Current rights holder: (unknown)

Listing updated: 8 March 2011.

References: Film credits, film viewing : Bogdanovich-Dwan p. 90; Bohn-Light p. 87; Brownlow-Behind p. 23; Drew-Speaking pp. 49-50; Everson-American p. 286; Fell-History pp. 114, 116, 117, 125; Hudson-Swanson pp. 14, 16, 196, 197, 198; Leish-Cinema p. 52; Quirk-Swanson pp. 15, 33, 211, 212, 213-214, 215, 218; Shipman-Cinema p. 102; Sinyard-Silent pp. 89, 90, 126, 127; Vermilye-Twenties p. 249; Weinberg-Stroheim pp. xiii, xvi, xviii, 209-238 : ClasIm-240 p. 44 : Website-GEM; Website-IMDb.

Home video: DVD.

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