A rich fellow goes to Egypt for some sightseeing and ends up with a bride, a tomb curse broken and a deranged stalker. How was your last vacation? Pola Negri and Emil Jannings play some Svengali-meets-Dracula by way of an Egyptian tomb.
Have you ever met one of THOSE fans? You know the kind I mean, the people who are so obsessed with a particular star that they consider attention for anyone else to be an insult. They’re the fans who hate a star’s girlfriend for dating their favorite. Alas, Rudolph Valentino has them in spades.
Poland’s biggest silent film star in one of her rare Polish films! Pola Negri plays a young woman who runs away from home and finds more trouble than she bargained for in the big city.
Ernst Lubitsch’s take on Carmen is worth watching for one reason and one reason only. Fortunately, that reason is pretty good. Pola Negri is fierce, flirty and irresistible as the world’s most famous femme fatale.
Some of my newer readers may not know this but I also make video reviews of silent films. I wanted to share a couple oldies-but-goodies with you.
A picture is worth a thousand words? Then a GIF is worth a million! Fans of this site will know that I love me some GIFs but some are particularly useful for snark, social media interactions and just plain fun.
Pola Negri is a chambermaid behind enemy lines during the First World War. She uses her position to aid a dashing Austrian officer in his efforts to thwart the dastardly Russians. Very strange reversal of the propaganda tropes established during the war, this movie is really done in by blandly written characters. However, Negri manages a few spectacular scenes. Could we expect any less of her?
Pola Negri certainly seems to be enjoying that book! I wonder what it is. Hey, Pola, can I get a book recommendation?
“So, you go behind my back with a bullfighter?”
That’s not strictly true, Don Jose. Carmen goes with the bullfighter in front of your face as well. So there.
Continue reading “You could have cheated on me with a plumber, a cheese-monger, a politician but a BULL-FIGHTER? Animated GIF”
Welcome back! I am cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook (recipes of the stars!) and you are invited to tag along. (I have listed all the recipes that I have tested on this dedicated page. Check back often.) This time, we are trying a recipe from a much-maligned actress who was also a pioneering star in both Polish and German cinema.
A young woman’s wild ways lead her to leave hearth and home and pursue a career as a cabaret dancer. One of the earliest extant Polish films known to exist and Pola Negri’s earliest complete surviving screen appearance, The Polish Dancer has a lot of historical value. Will that value translate into entertainment?
One of Pola Negri’s earliest collaborations with Ernst Lubitsch and a major critical and commercial hit for them both, this film tells the famous tale of Carmen and her doomed romance. How will our dynamic duo make this story their own? Negri’s signature combination of sexiness, warmth and humor is on full display at this early date but the Lubitsch touch is still in its infancy.
Continue reading “Gypsy Blood (1918) A Silent Film Review”
On January 3, 1897, two baby girls were born an ocean apart. Apolonia Chalupec, the daughter of a Slovakian immigrant living in Lipno, Poland. Marion Douras was born in Brooklyn, New York. Both women adopted more glamorous surnames (Apolonia shortened her given name for good measure) and became famous as Pola Negri and Marion Davies.
Asking countesses (particularly if they are played by Pola Negri) to see their tattoo is never a good idea. First of all, Pola is perfectly capable of walloping you. Second, it’s none of your darn business. (If you are worried about the family-friendliness of the film, I will say that it is on her forearm.)
This scene (and its title card) are priceless! It’s from A Woman of the World, one of Negri’s lighter films and a personal favorite of mine. (You can read my review here.) It has everything I love: Zany title cards, Sennett comedians and a very empowering narrative for its heroine. Damsel in distress? Feh!
Availability: Released on DVD by Grapevine.
A gender-reversed version of The Taming of the Shrew with feminist overtones and starring Pola Negri? Yes, please! This Roaring Twenties dramedy casts Pola as a chain-smoking, tattoo-getting, couture-wearing countess who takes a tiny mid-west town by storm. She sets her sights on a prim district attorney and the sparks fly. He doesn’t approve of anyone– but particularly women– having a good time. She has to beat some sense into his head. Literally. It doesn’t get more fun than this, people!
Pola Negri plays a hotel chambermaid who finds herself the accomplice of an Austrian officer trapped behind enemy lines. There are spies, an assassination and much skulking about the corridors of the titular hotel. This was one of the biggest Hollywood hits for both Negri and director Mauritz Stiller.
Continue reading “Hotel Imperial (1927) A Silent Film Review”
Welcome to my second-ever video review! This time, I am sharing Barbed Wire, a beautiful silent drama starring Pola Negri. She’s a French farmer. He’s a German soldier. Her farm has been converted into a POW camp. Not the likeliest setup for a romance but with a war on, we take what we can get.
I also cover the propaganda films of the first world war and talk about German-Americans in Hollywood. I also do a little bit of debunking as a rather odd rumor has attached itself to the film.
I hope you enjoy!
Pola Negri and Ernst Lubitsch team up once again in the deranged comedy that sends up romance, adventure and Hollywood. Pola is a bandit girl. Paul Heidemann is a ladykiller army officer. She captures him and steals his pants. He chases her all over a Dr. Suess-ian fortress. Oh, it’s a mad film. A little too mad, in fact. But Pola has never been more fun!
If it were a dessert it would be:
Trix Cereal Crunch Cake. Loud, zany and slightly psychedelic. May induce headaches on some days. On others, it may be just what the doctor ordered.
Click here to read my full-length review.
Restrained and mature vehicle for Pola Negri, a criminally underrated actress. She is a Frenchwoman whose farm is used to house German POW’s and she finds herself falling for one of them. Negri and Clive Brook both give sensitive performances as the rarest of movie creatures: star-crossed lovers who are also capable of acting like adults. A forgotten treat. Highly recommended, especially if you have never seen one of Pola’s films.
If it were a dessert it would be:
Blackberry with Red Wine Sorbet. Mature, perhaps a little dark but still a pleasure.
Click here to read my full-length review.
Pola Negri is a the Countess. She got dumped right after getting a tattoo of the guy’s family crest. Off she goes to the Midwest to forget. Scandal! Makeup? Tattoos? Smoking? Next thing you know, women will want jobs too!
Pola Negri’s bandit girl leads her men on a raid but they end up completely wasted on stolen wine. Being a resourceful girl, Pola is determined to bring them all home again.
Pola Negri stars as Rischka, the wildcat of the title. She is the leader of a gang of bandits. Their latest victim is Alexis, a caddish military officer on his way to his new post. Rischka and Alexis embark on a mad courtship leaving chaos in their wake. Director Ernst Lubitsch creates onscreen havoc that has rarely been equaled since.
Continue reading “The Wildcat (1921) A Silent Film Review”
Pola Negri’s feral little bandit girl in The Wildcat wants to get married. However, she has beaten up the boys in her gang once too often and so she only has one taker… and he is terrified!
Pola Negri hits it out of the park in this late silent war drama. She is a French farmer whose land is converted into a POW camp during WWI. Her hatred of Germans is slowly melted away by her discovery of common humanity… and by Clive Brook, a handsome prisoner. First class story of love and tolerance.
Continue reading “Barbed Wire (1927) A Silent Film Review”
Pola Negri (1897-1987)
Country of birth: Poland
Birth name: Apolonia Chalupiec
An animated GIF from A Woman of the World, Pola Negri’s uproarious vamp comedy.
A glamorous European countess meets small town America and it’s a novel experience for both. Tongues wag, the gentlemen preen and the town’s moral crusader finds himself unpleasantly in love. This is pretty much the most fun you can have at the movies and not be breaking the law.
Continue reading “A Woman of the World (1925) A Silent Film Review”