A guide to discern Von Sternberg from Von Stroheim

Lately, I’ve been having some sort of growing interest towards Josef von Sternberg’s films. With my recent review of his 1930 masterpiece and cinematic cornerstone The Blue Angel, I’ve decided to take a trip into his oeuvre. However, around the same time in the 1920’s another “von” made his mark into Silent films with grandiose films like Greed, The Wedding March, and The Merry Widow. His name is Erich von Stroheim and coming from Vienna as well as von Sternberg was, in fact the later von was born in New York City but his life was split between Vienna and the Big Apple. Both directors made their mark into American films. With this concise list I will try to bring some light into the differences between both filmmakers for the benefit of every film buff out there who like me likes to know a little more about the creator of the films I like to discover.

Erich von Stroheim
First, Von Stroheim is one of those directors who wore a monocle and only did Silent films as a director. His audacious projects were tragically edited by the studios and his final cuts are for most, almost impossible to recover. His ultimate masterpiece, Greed was 239 minutes long (1999 restored version) when he finished editing. However, the studios cut it down to a 140 minutes into a decent version that only makes the film snob in us cry out loud that the director’s cut should be one of the greatest film ever made. The same thing happened to his Foolish Wives and his The Wedding March, guess who was asked to edit the film? Josef von Sternberg who decided to split the film in two without its director's approuval. 
His strong temper and over budget productions made him loose any credit with the head of the studios. You will recognize him from films like Jean Renoir’s La Grande Illusion and Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard for his acting credits. Not bad at all.

Josef von Sternberg
Von Sternberg was more of a low profile, physically speaking except for the sexy moustache. His birth name was Jonas Sternberg and he decided to add the "von" for his admiration towards, well you know, Erich von Stroheim. He also frequented Marlene Dietrich when he discovered her for the role of Lola Lola in The Blue Angel. She then became his muse and they collaborated on many films together. It made a huge controversy because when Dietrich came to America to shoot Morocco in 1930, she wasn't accompagned by her husband and her daughter. At the same time Von Sternberg divorced.
While Von Stroheim struggled to get his directorial efforts released the way he intended them to be, Von Sternberg had lots of success and quickly became one of the highest paid director of his time. However, after thirty years as a director he would have to return to assistant-director and take the humiliation of being supervised by studios. His career will be marked by many moments like this and his cocky personality will make him one of the "cinéastes maudits" for his attitude towards the cirtics, the public, and even his fans. His Baroque mise en scène and fluidly beautiful camera movements are two of his most distinctive trademarks.
Here is a comparison of each other’s films with titles, year of release, number by each director:

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