The Merry Widow
16mm print from George Eastman House. With Mae Murray, John Gilbert. Stroheim uses an adaptation of Franz Lehar’s famous operetta to comment on the decadence of European aristocracy, foregrounding themes of sexual lust, voyeuristic pleasure, and fetishism. Former Ziegfeld Girl and silent film star Mae Murray’s dazzling costumes include a satin-velvet dress held with a birds-of-paradise headpiece designed by the young Adrian.