Pola Negri and Ernst Lubitsch teamed up for the first time in this curious mashup of Orientalist melodrama and romantic comedy. While the screenplay doesn’t always do its cast favors, Negri’s charisma is undeniable.
Emil Jannings eats the walls and carpets as the villain and Harry Liedtke seems confused as to how to handle himself outside the rom-com sequences. However, this film did inspire Lubitsch to take on more ambitious fare and for that we can be grateful.
How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.Jannings stalks and kills Negri during the grand finale.
Read my full-length review here.
If it were a dessert it would be: Smash Cake. More interesting as a prelude of what is to come.
Availability: The picture has been released by various public domain outlets. If you can get hold of it, the version included in the out-of-print Pola Negri: The Iconic Collection has an energetic piano score by Rick DeJonge that elevates the film considerably.
I was able to get my hands on a copy of The Iconic Collection. That took some serious scrounging, and as I recall a few bucks to acquire. But, I am a big Pola fan so glad I have it.
Yes, the prints aren’t the best of the best but the music is first-rate.
To think, just about two years ago all I really knew of Pola was from having seen her in The Moonspinners back in my teen years, and reading about her grief at Valentino’s funeral, etc. Now I’ve seen about 10 of her films, including this one and most notably Barbed Wire, and I’m a diehard Negri fan! Her expressive face just captivates me.
Whoohoo! Team Pola!
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