Having alienated virtually all the major Hollywood studios, filmmaker Erich Von Stroheim turned to independent entrepreneur Pat Powers for funding for his 1927 epic The Wedding March. Set during the Austro-Hungarian Hapsburg regime, the film stars director Von Stroheim as wastrelly Prince Nikki, who is advised by his parents to marry into money if he hopes to keep up his sumptuous lifestyle. During the Corpus Christi festival (much of which is lensed in early Technicolor), Nikki spots the beautiful peasant girl Mitzi (Fay Wray) in the crowd. The two fall in love, but happiness eludes them: Nikki is slated to marry the homely, clubfooted daughter (ZaSu Pitts) of a millionaire corn-plaster manufactuer, while Mitzi's erstwhile boy friend, a mean-spirited butcher (Matthew Betz) who despises the aristocracy, promises dire consequences to Nikki for compromising Mitzi. Despite his dissipated, debauched lifestyle, Prince Nikki develops into the most sympathetic character in the film. As it now exists, The Wedding March is one of Von Stroheim's best films; incredibly, it was originally the first half of a two-part production (the second half, The Wedding, no longer exists). Released by Paramount, the film did excellent business during its first week-then dropped off precipitously, one of several factors which caused an irreparable rift between Von Stroheim and his new benefactor Powers.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
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