Silent Movie Rule #18: Before naming something, always look under the tail

Barbed Wire 1927 starring Pola Negri and Clive Brook, a silent movie animated GIFPola Negri is known as a diva, a tragedienne and even (erroneously) as a vamp. She could be dramatic, die with grace and vamp with the best of them but she could also pull off zany comedy with considerable flair. Just take a look at her face as she christens a newborn calf as Jean… er, Jeannette.

It’s best to be versatile about naming animals anyway. My younger brother refused to believe that his pet mouse was a girl and insisted on calling her Ralph. My mouse was a boy and I named him Schultz. It’s a very good name, yes? I don’t remember why I named him that but it made sense at the time.

But back to Pola! If you have believed all the rumors about her and have been putting off meeting her on the screen, I recommend that you remedy the situation at once. This GIF is from Barbed Wire, which I love to death. Pola is a French farmer whose property is taken over to be used as a POW camp during WWI. It’s a very sensitive and balanced portrayal of the tragic conflict and the romance is refreshingly grown up. Clive Brook is the object of Miss Negri’s affections and he is excellent as well. (Both Brook and Negri are terribly underrated as performers.)

You can read my print review here. Or you can check out my video review. It was one of the first video reviews I ever made but it’s still my favorite.

Availability: Barbed Wire was released on DVD by Grapevine.

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