Kino Video's print was assembled by Dennis Doros in 1985.
"Queen Kelly's" production history is truly one of the most fascinating and debated in film. It was produced by Swanson herself and financed by Joseph Kennedy, who was then her lover. Although Erich von Stroheim submitted a finished script, he very quickly veered in another, more overtly sexual direction -- also a more costly one. Insistent that every aspect of the set and decor be "real" (including the panties, which had to be made of pure silk), the budget soared. Swanson balked and, with Kennedy's approval, fired von Stroheim and temporarily stopped production.
Before she could resume filming, however, sound films came in, and Swanson decided simply to finish the film off quickly, altering the story. It never received much of a release.
Much of von Stroheim's footage which survives -- including scenes found during the 1960s and added to this reconstructed print -- are amazingly lavish, beautiful and contain, perhaps, a touch of perversity. From a purely monetary and realistic perspective (such as likely problems with censors), Swanson certainly had a point; from an artistic perspective, however, von Stroheim presents a compelling and original vision.
Despite Swanson's firing of him, she and von Stroheim were not enemies, and 22 years later the two were reunited in Billy Wilder's masterpiece "Sunset Boulevard," in which they played roles very similar to their real personas -- and in which a clip from "Queen Kelly" appears.