2 Cast 3 Production 4 Distribution 5 Accolades 6 See also 7 References 8 External links
Prince Wolfram (Byron) is the betrothed of mad Queen Regina V of
Kronberg (Owen). As punishment for partying with other women, he is
sent on manoeuvres. He sees Kitty Kelly (Swanson) walking with other
convent students and flirts with her. She is embarrassed when he makes
a comment after seeing that her underwear is visible, so she takes it
off and throws it at him, to the horror of the nuns, who punish her
for her "indecency".
Enthralled by her beauty, he kidnaps her that night from the convent,
takes her to his room and professes his love for her. When the Queen
finds them together the next morning, she whips Kelly and throws her
out of the castle. Regina then puts Wolfram in prison for not wanting
to marry her.
Original ending: Kelly goes to
German East Africa
Whipping scene with
The production of the costly film was shut down after complaints by
Swanson about the direction the film was taking. Though the European
scenes were full of innuendo, and featured a philandering prince and a
sex-crazed queen, the scenes set in Africa were grim and, Swanson
felt, distasteful. In later interviews, Swanson had claimed that she
had been misled by the script which referred to her character arriving
in, and taking over, a dance hall; looking at the rushes, it was
obvious the 'dance hall' was actually a brothel.
Stroheim was fired from the film and the African storyline scrapped.
Swanson and Kennedy still wanted to salvage the European material, as
it had been so costly and time-consuming, and had potential market
value. An alternate ending was, however, shot on November 24, 1931. In
this ending, Kelly dies after her experiences with the prince (it is
implied to be suicide). Prince Wolfram is shown visiting the palace. A
nun leads him to the chapel, where Kelly's body lies in state. These
scenes were directed by Richard Boleslawski, photographed by Gregg
Toland, and edited by Viola Lawrence. This has been called the
The film was not theatrically released in the United States, but it
was shown in Europe and South America with the 'Swanson ending' tacked
on. This was due to a clause in Stroheim's contract.
In 1933, Stroheim submitted a script called Poto Poto to MGM. Though
it was never produced, the script contained several elements recycled
from the African story of Queen Kelly. A short extract of the film
appears in Sunset Boulevard (1950), representing an old silent picture
2002: AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions – Nominated
^ a b Koller, Michael (August 2007). "Erich von Stoheim's Damned Queen: Queen Kelly". Senses of Cinema (44). ^ Profile, silentera.com; accessed 17 December 2017. ^ " AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-19.
v t e
Films directed by Erich von Stroheim