The directorial debut of legendary actor-turned-filmmaker Erich von Stroheim (Foolish Wives, Greed) is a sophisticated tale of adultery set in the Tyrolean Alps — and one of the rare films by the notoriously obsessive, extravagant, and profligate auteur to be released without studio mutilation! Von Stroheim also wrote, designed, and starred; in a characteristic role, he plays a fastidious Austrian military officer and serial seducer who becomes entangled with a vacationing American couple. Von Stroheim had to persuade reluctant studio chief Carl Laemmle, head of Universal, to let him direct a feature; the movie’s ballooning budget was an augur of future von Stroheim misfortunes, but Blind Husbands proved a significant critical and commercial success, thus launching one of Hollywood’s most extraordinary — and extraordinarily troubled — directing careers. (Von Stroheim’s celebrated acting career later included memorable roles in Renoir’s Grand Illusion and Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard.) “The subtlest, wittiest, and most sophisticated sex drama presented on the American screen to that date ... Critics noticed the careful attention to detail in the décor, the costumes, the gestures of the actors, and the keen psychological observation of the characters” (Ephraim Katz). “You certainly can’t mistake it for a film by any other director” (Pauline Kael). B&W, 35mm, silent. 92mins.
"This is peerless melodrama carried out with a pioneer's visual imagination, and it made Von Stroheim's name as a director."A.V. Club | full review
"One of the most impressive directorial debuts of all time... Stroheim was poised at the dawning edge of the '20s, at ready to give the decade some of its most deliriously debauched dramatic moments."New York Times | full review