Fun Size Review: Hotel Imperial (1927)

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?

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Photoplay Cookbook: Pola Negri’s Banana Trifle

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.

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Gypsy Blood (1918) A Silent Film Review

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.

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Silent Movie Rule #3: Never ask to see Pola Negri’s tattoo

woman-of-the-world-see-tattoo-movies-silently

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.

Video Review: A Woman of the World (1925)

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!

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Video Review: Barbed Wire (1927)

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!

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Fun Size Review: The Wildcat (1921)

wildcat

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:

(via Pillsbury)

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.

Fun Size Review: Barbed Wire (1927)

Pola Negri Barbed Wire Publicity

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:

(via allrecipe.com)

Blackberry with Red Wine Sorbet. Mature, perhaps a little dark but still a pleasure.

Click here to read my full-length review.