Pola Negri

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Pola Negri
Pola Negri 1923.jpg
Born Barbara Apolonia Chałupec
(1897-01-03)3 January 1897
Lipno, Congress Poland, Russian Empire (present-day Lipno, Poland)
Died 1 August 1987(1987-08-01) (aged 90)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Cause of death
Pneumonia while suffering from brain tumor
Occupation Actress, singer, memoirist
Years active 1914–1944, 1964
Spouse(s) Count Eugeniusz Dąmbski (1919–1922; dissolved)
Prince Serge Mdivani (14 May 1927–2 April 1931; dissolved)

Pola Negri (born Barbara Apolonia Chałupec, 3 January 1897[1][2][3][4] – 1 August 1987) was a Polish[5] stage and film actress who achieved worldwide fame during the silent and golden eras of Hollywood and European film for her tragedienne and femme fatale roles.

She was the first European film star to be invited to Hollywood, and became one of the most popular actresses in American silent film. Her varied career included work as an actress in theater and vaudeville; as a singer and recording artist; as an author; and as a ballerina.[4]

Early life[edit]

Negri was born Barbara Apolonia Chałupec[1][6] on 3 January 1897[4] in Lipno, Congress Poland (present-day Lipno, Poland), the only surviving child (of three) of a Polish mother, Eleonora (née Kiełczewska; died 24 August 1954), who, according to Negri, came from impoverished Polish nobility,[1][4][7] and Juraj Chalupec (died 1920), an itinerant Slovakian tinsmith from Nesluša.[8][9] After her father was arrested by the Russian authorities for revolutionary activities and sent to Siberia, she and her mother moved to Warsaw, where they lived in poverty.[7]

Young Barbara was accepted into Warsaw's Imperial Ballet Academy.[10] Her first dance performance was in the chorus of baby swans in Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake; she worked her way up to a solo role in the Saint-Léon ballet Coppélia. However, a bout with tuberculosis forced her to stop dancing. Chałupec was sent to a sanatorium to recover, and during that time, she adopted the pseudonym Pola Negri, after the Italian novelist and poetess Ada Negri; "Pola" was short for her own middle name, Apolonia (sometimes spelled Apollonia).[4][11]

Polish theatre and film career[edit]

Pola Negri and Charlie Chaplin
Pola Negri and Paul Lucas
Pola Negri's best known personal relationships were those with Charlie Chaplin (left) and Rudolph Valentino (right).

After Negri returned from her stay at the sanatorium, she successfully auditioned for the Warsaw Imperial Academy of Dramatic Arts. Alongside her formal schooling at the Academy, she also took private classes outside with renowned Polish stage actress and professor Honorata Leszczynska. She made her theatrical debut before her graduation at The Small Theatre in Warsaw on 2 October 1912. Negri made her stage debut in 1913 in Gerhardt Hauptmann's Hannele in Warsaw and appeared the following year in her first film, Niewolnica Zmyslow. She continued to perform there while finishing her studies at the Academy, graduating in 1914. Her graduating performance was as Hedwig in Ibsen's The Wild Duck, which resulted in offers to join a number of the prominent theatres in Warsaw.[12] By the end of World War I, Negri had established herself as a popular stage actress. She made an appearance at the Grand Theatre in Sumurun, as well as in the Small Theatre (Aleksander Fredro's Śluby panieńskie, and at the Summer Theatre in the Saxon Garden.[citation needed]

Negri debuted in film in 1914 in Slave to her Senses (Niewolnica zmysłów). She also appeared in a variety of films made by the Warsaw film industry, including Bestia (Beast, released in the US as The Polish Dancer), Room No. 13 (Pokój Nr. 13), His Last Gesture (Jego Ostatni Czyn), Students (Studenci), and The Wife (Żona).[13]

Ernst Lubitsch and German silent film career[edit]

Negri's popularity in Poland provided her with an opportunity to move to Berlin, Germany, in 1917, to appear as the dancing girl in a German revival of Max Reinhardt's theatre production of Sumurun. In this production, she met Ernst Lubitsch,[14] who at the time was producing comedies for the German Film studio UFA. Negri was first signed with Saturn Films, making six films with them, including Wenn das Herz in Haß erglüht (If the Heart Burns With Hate, 1917). After this, she signed to UFA's roster; some of the films that she made with UFA include Mania (1918), Der Gelbe Schein (The Yellow Ticket, also 1918), and Komtesse Doddy (1919).[15]

In 1918, Lubitsch convinced UFA to let him create a large-scale film with Negri as the main character. The result was Die Augen der Mumie Ma (The Eyes of the Mummy Ma, 1918), which was a popular success and led to a series of Lubitsch/Negri collaborations, each larger in scale than the previous film. The next was Carmen (1918, reissued in the United States in 1921 as Gypsy Blood), which was followed by Madame Dubarry (1919, released in the U.S.A. as Passion). Madame DuBarry became a huge international success, and managed to bring down the American embargo on German films and launch a demand for German films that briefly threatened to dislodge Hollywood's dominance in the international film market. Negri and Lubitsch made three German films together after this, Sumurun (aka One Arabian Night, 1920), Die Bergkatze (aka The Mountain Cat or The Wildcat, 1921), and Die Flamme (The Flame, 1922), and UFA employed Negri for films with other directors, including Vendetta (1920) and Sappho (1921), many of which were purchased by American distributors and shown in the United States.[15]

Hollywood responded to this new threat by buying out key German talent, beginning with the procuration of the services of Lubitsch and Negri. Lubitsch was the first director to be brought to Hollywood, with Mary Pickford calling for his services in her costume film Rosita (1923). Paramount Pictures mogul Jesse Lasky saw the premiere of Madame DuBarry in Berlin in 1919, and Paramount invited Negri to come to Hollywood in 1921. She signed a contract with Paramount and arrived in New York in a flurry of publicity on 12 September 1922. This made Negri the first ever Continental star to be imported into Hollywood, setting a precedent for imported European stars that would go on to include Vilma Bánky, Alla Nazimova, Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich, among many others. The Hot Dog, a Cleveland monthly publication, in its own promotional advertisement for Paramount in February 1922 claimed Negri's true name was Paula Schwartz, and that she was Jewish,[16] although this is untrue.[17]

Paramount period[edit]

Pola Negri and Rod La Rocque in a publicity portrait for Forbidden Paradise (1924)

Negri ended up becoming one of the most popular Hollywood actresses of the era, and certainly the richest woman of the film industry at the time,[18] living in a mansion in Los Angeles modeled after the White House. While in Hollywood, she started several ladies' fashion trends, some of which are still fashion staples today, including red painted toenails, fur boots, and turbans.[19] Negri was a favorite photography subject of Hollywood portrait photographer Eugene Robert Richee,[20] and many of her best-known photographs were taken during this period.

Negri's first two Paramount films were Bella Donna (1923) and The Cheat (1923), both of which were directed by George Fitzmaurice and were remakes of Paramount films from 1915. Negri's first spectacle film was the Herbert Brenon-directed The Spanish Dancer (1923), which was based on the Victor Hugo novel Don César de Bazan. The initial screenplay was intended as a vehicle for Rudolph Valentino before he left Paramount, and was reworked for Negri. Rosita, Lubitsch's film with Mary Pickford, was released the same year, and also happened to be based on Don César de Bazan. According to the book Paramount Pictures and the People Who Made Them, "Critics had a field day comparing the two. The general opinion was that the Pickford film was more polished, but the Negri film was more entertaining."[21]

Initially Paramount used Negri as a mysterious European "femme fatale" and a clotheshorse as they had done with Gloria Swanson, and staged an ongoing feud between the two actresses, which actor Charlie Chaplin recalled in his autobiography as "a mélange of cooked-up jealousies and quarrels".[22] Negri was concerned that Paramount was mishandling her career and image, and arranged for her former director Ernst Lubitsch to direct her in the critically acclaimed Forbidden Paradise (1924). It would be the last time the two worked together in any film. By 1925, Negri's on-screen continental opulence was starting to wear thin with some segments of the American audience, a situation parodied in the Mal St. Clair-directed comedy, A Woman of the World (1925), in which Negri starred.[23]

Pola Negri with Warner Baxter in a publicity still for Three Sinners (1928)

Paramount transitioned into casting Negri in international peasant roles in films such as the Mauritz Stiller-directed and Erich Pommer-produced Hotel Imperial (1927), in an apparent effort to give her a more down-to-earth, relatable image.[24]

Although Hotel Imperial reportedly fared well at the box office, her next film, Barbed Wire (1927) and a number of subsequent films did not reportedly due to negative publicity about her behavior at Rudolph Valentino's funeral and her rebound marriage to Georgian prince Serge Mdivani, although her films continued to fare well internationally. In 1928, Negri made her last film for Paramount Pictures, The Woman From Moscow, opposite Norman Kerry. Negri claimed in her autobiography she opted not to renew her contract with Paramount, choosing to retire from films and live as a wife at the Château de Rueil-Seraincourt, near Vigny, where she had married her second husband. She owned the Château at the time.[12] In 1928, her short volume featuring reflections on art and film, La Vie et Le Rêve au Cinéma, and edited by Albin Michel, was published.

Later career[edit]

Negri in a publicity portrait from Hi Diddle Diddle (1943)

Negri's initial 1928 retirement turned out to be short-lived. Negri miscarried her pregnancy and later learned that her husband was gambling her fortune away on speculative business ventures, which strained their relationship. She went back to acting when an independent production company offered her work in a British film production that was to be distributed by Gaumont-British. Initially the film was to be a filmed version of George Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra, and Shaw even offered to alter the play to suit the film.[25] When the rights proved to be too expensive, the company settled on an original story and hired German Kammerspielfilm director Paul Czinner to direct. The resulting film, The Way of Lost Souls (also known as The Woman He Scorned), was released in 1929; it would be Negri's final silent film.[23]

Negri returned to Hollywood in 1931 to begin filming her first talking film, A Woman Commands (1932). The film itself was poorly received, but Negri's rendition of the song "Paradise", the centerpiece of the film, became a sizable hit in the sheet music format. The song went onto become a minor standard, and was covered by many other performers, including Russ Columbo and Louis Prima and Keely Smith. Negri went on a successful vaudeville tour to promote the song. She was then employed in the leading role of the touring theatre production A Trip To Pressburg, which premiered at the Shubert Theater in New York. However, she collapsed after the final curtain at the production's stop at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania due to a gall bladder inflammation[26] and was unable to complete the tour.[27] Negri returned to France to appear in Fanatisme (Fanaticism, 1934), an historical costume film about Napoleon III. The film was directed by the directorial team of Tony Lekain and Gaston Ravel and released by Pathé. It was her only French film.[23]

After this, actor-director Willi Forst brought Negri to Germany appear in the film Mazurka (1935). The film was considered "artistically valuable" (German: künstlerisch wertvoll) by the Reichsfilmkammer. Mazurka gained much popularity in Germany and abroad, and became one of Adolf Hitler's favorite films, a fact that, along with her admiring comments about the efficiency of the German film industry, gave birth to a rumor in 1937 of Negri having had an affair with Hitler. Negri sued Pour Vous, the French magazine which had circulated the rumor, for libel, and won. Mazurka was remade (almost shot-for-shot) in the U.S. as Confession (1937), starring Kay Francis.[23]

Martha Scott and Negri in a publicity still from Hi Diddle Diddle (1943)

After the success of Mazurka, Negri's former studio, the now-Joseph Goebbels controlled UFA, signed Negri to a new contract. Negri lived in France while working for UFA, making five films with them: Moskau-Shanghai (Moscow-Shanghai, 1936), Madame Bovary (1937), Tango Notturno (1937), Die Fromme Lüge (The Secret Lie, 1938), and Die Nacht der Entscheidung (The Night of Decision, 1939). After the Nazis took over France, Negri found the oppression of the regime too much to bear, and fled back to the United States. She sailed to New York from Lisbon, Portugal, and initially lived by selling off jewelry. She was hired in a supporting role as the temperamental opera singer Genya Smetana for the 1943 comedy Hi Diddle Diddle. After the success of this film, Negri was offered numerous roles which were essentially rehashes of her role in Hi Diddle Diddle, all of which she turned down as derivative. In 1944, Negri was engaged by booking agent Miles Ingalls for a nationwide vaudeville tour.[28] According to her autobiography, she also appeared in a Boston supper club engagement in 1945 for a repertoire centered around the song "Paradise",[12] and retired from the entertainment business altogether.

Personal life[edit]

Negri and second husband Serge Mdivani on their wedding day, 14 May 1927.

Negri's first marriage was with Count Eugeniusz Dąmbski, and would prove to be short lived. Negri married Dąmbski in St Mary's Assumption Church in Sosnowiec in 5 November 1919, thus becoming Countessa Apolonia Dąmbska-Chałupec. After a long separation period, Negri and Dąmbski's union was dissolved in 1922.[29]

After she began working in the United States, she made headlines and gossip columns with a string of celebrity love affairs, most notably with film stars Charlie Chaplin, Rod La Rocque, and Rudolph Valentino. Negri had met Chaplin while in Germany, and what began as a platonic relationship there became a well-publicized affair and marriage speculation which received the headline, "The Queen of Tragedy To Wed The King of Comedy".[30] The relationship soured, and Negri became involved for a time with actor Rod La Rocque, who appeared as her leading man in Forbidden Paradise (1924). Negri met Rudolph Valentino at a costume party held by Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst at the San Simeon estate, and was reportedly Valentino's lover until his death in 1926. Negri caused a media sensation at his New York funeral in 24 August 1926, at which she "fainted" several times, and, according to actor Ben Lyon, arranged for a large floral arrangement, which spelled out "P-O-L-A", to be placed on Valentino's coffin.[31] The press dismissed her actions as a publicity stunt. At the time of his death and for the remainder of her life, Negri would claim Valentino was the love of her life.[citation needed]

Negri soon married again, to Georgian nobleman Serge Mdivani. This action caused public opinion in the United States to sour against her because it happened so quickly after Rudolph Valentino's death. Negri and Mdivani were married on 14 May 1927 (less than nine months after Valentino's death), and were divorced on 2 April 1931.[32]

While residing at the Ambassador Hotel in New York in April 1932, Negri performed with Russ Columbo in George Jessel's variety revue at the Schubert Theatre, and was briefly involved with Colombo. After her film, A Woman Commands, premiered in Hollywood, Columbo performed Negri's signature song "Paradise" with his orchestra, and dedicated the song to Negri. Columbo also recorded and released the song as a 78 rpm single that year with slightly altered lyrics, and the single became a huge sensation with audiences across the country.[33]

Retirement and later years[edit]

When Negri returned to the United States in the early 1940s, she became close friends with Margaret West, an oil heiress and vaudeville actress that she had originally met in the 1930s. The two became housemates, and moved from Los Angeles to San Antonio, Texas, in 1957.[34] Negri became a naturalized citizen of the United States on 12 January 1951.[35]

In 1948, director Billy Wilder approached Negri to appear as Norma Desmond in the film Sunset Boulevard (1950), after Mae Murray, Mae West, and Mary Pickford declined the role. Negri reportedly declined the role because she felt that the screenplay was not ready and that Montgomery Clift, who was slated to play the Joe Gillis character at the time, was not a good choice for the character. The role of Gillis eventually went to William Holden, and Gloria Swanson accepted the Norma Desmond role.[35]

Negri would live with Margaret West until the latter's death in 1963. Negri moved out of the home she had shared with West into a townhouse located at 7707 Broadway in San Antonio. She spent the remainder of her years there, largely out of the public eye. She came out of retirement to appear in the Walt Disney film The Moon-Spinners (1964), which starred Hayley Mills and Eli Wallach. Negri's appearance in the film as eccentric jewel collector Madame Habib was shot in London over the course of two weeks. While she was filming The Moon-Spinners, she made a sensation by appearing before the London press at her hotel in the company of a feisty cheetah on a steel chain leash.[citation needed]

In 1964, Negri received an honorary award from the German film industry for her film work, followed by a Hemis-Film award in San Antonio in 1968.[36] In 1970 she published her autobiography, Memoirs of a Star, which was published by Doubleday. She made an appearance at The Museum of Modern Art on 30 April 1970, for a screening event in her honor, which featured her film A Woman of the World (1925) and selections from her films.[37] Negri was a guest of honor at the 1972 screening of Carmen held at the Witte Museum in San Antonio.[38]

In 1975, director Vincente Minnelli approached Negri to appear as the Contessa Sanziani in A Matter of Time, but Negri was unable to accept due to poor health. In 1978, Billy Wilder directed Fedora, and, although Negri does not appear in the film, the title character was reportedly based largely on her.[35] Her final high-profile coverage in her lifetime was for a "Where Are They Now?" feature on silent film stars, which appeared in Life magazine in 1980.[35]

Pola Negri's Star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Pola Negri's Star in Poland's Walk of Fame
Pola Negri's stars in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood, California, and in Poland's Walk of Fame in Łódź, Poland.

Death[edit]

Pola Negri died on 1 August 1987, aged 90. Her death was caused by pneumonia; however, she was also suffering from a brain tumor, for which she had refused treatment. Dr. Juan Nieto, a physician from San Antonio, Texas pronounced her death. At her wake at the Porter Loring Funeral Home in San Antonio, her body was placed on view wearing a yellow golden chiffon dress with a golden turban to match. Her death received extensive coverage in her hometown newspapers San Antonio Light,[39] and San Antonio Express-News,[40] and in publications such as Los Angeles Times[41][42] and Variety magazine.[43][44]

Negri was interred in Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles next to her mother, Eleonora, who died in 1954 from pancreatic cancer. As Negri had no children or siblings, she left most of her estate to St. Mary's University in Texas, including a collection of memorabilia and several rare prints of her films. St. Mary's University also set up a scholarship in her name.[6] In addition, a generous portion of her estate was given to the Polish nuns of the Seraphic Order; a large black and white portrait hangs in the small chapel next to Poland's patron, Our Lady of Częstochowa, in San Antonio, Texas.[44]

Legacy[edit]

Pola Negri has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to Motion Pictures at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard. She was the 11th star in Hollywood history to place her hand and foot prints in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.[45] She received a star in Poland's Walk of Fame in Łódź and Poland's post office issued a postage stamp honoring her in 1996. The Polish Film Festival of Los Angeles remembered her with the Pola Negri Award, given to outstanding film artists, and the Pola Negri Museum in Lipno gives a Polita award for outstanding artist achievement.[citation needed]

Negri, along with Theda Bara and Mae Murray, were the actresses whose eyes were combined to form the Chicago International Film Festival's logo, a stark, black and white close up of the composite eyes set as repeated frames in a strip of film. It was created by Festival Founder and Artistic Director Michael Kutza.[46]

Signature and prints of Pola Negri's hands and feet in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood, California

In 2006, a feature-length documentary about Negri's life, Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema, premiered at the Seventh Annual Polish Film Festival of Los Angeles. The film was directed by Negri's biographer, Mariusz Kotowski,[47] and includes in-depth interviews with Hayley Mills and Eli Wallach, who starred in Negri's final film, The Moon-Spinners (1964). Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema has played at Negri retrospective screenings in the U.S. and in Europe, most notably at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in NYC and at the Cinémathèque Française in Paris.[48]

Kotowski authored a Polish-language biography of Negri, Pola Negri: Legenda Hollywood (English title: Pola Negri: Hollywood Legend), released in Poland on 24 February 2011,[49] and an English-language biography, Pola Negri: Hollywood's First Femme Fatale, published by the University of Kentucky Press on 8 April 2014.[50] Kotowski produced a 3-DVD compilation of early Negri films, Pola Negri, The Iconic Collection: The Early Years (2011).[50]

Filmography[edit]

In Congress Poland[edit]

Year Film Director Company Notes
1914 Niewolnica zmysłów Alexander Hertz Sphinx Company Alternate Titles: Der Sklave der Sinne, Slave of Sin
Poland's first feature film (Lost)
1915 Żona Alexander Hertz Sphinx Company English title translation: Wife (Lost)
1915 Czarna książka Alexander Hertz Sphinx Company English title translation: The Yellow Pass
An early version of Der Gelbe Schein (The Yellow Ticket) (Lost)
1916 Studenci Alexander Hertz Sphinx Company English title translation: Students (Lost)
1917 Bestia Alexander Hertz Sphinx Company English title translation: Beast, Bad Girl; Alternate title The Polish Dancer (US release title) (Survives)
1917 Tajemnica alei Ujazdowskich Alexander Hertz Sphinx Company English title translation: Mystery of Uyazdovsky Lane
Part of the Tajemnice Warszawy (Mysteries of Warsaw) serial. (Lost)
1917 Pokój Nr. 13 Alexander Hertz Sphinx Company English title translation: Room #13
Part of the Tajemnice Warszawy (Mysteries of Warsaw) serial. (Lost)
1917 Arabella Alexander Hertz Sphinx Company (Partially survives) - a short fragment was used in Polish film O czym się nie mówi (1939).[51]
1917 Jego ostatni czyn Alexander Hertz Sphinx Company English title translation: His Last Gesture (Lost)

In Germany (silent period)[edit]

Year Film Director Company Notes
1917 Nicht lange täuschte mich das Glück Kurt Matull? Saturn-Film AG Negri plays a dual supporting role as a nun and a cabaret dancer. (Lost)
1917 Zügelloses Blut  ? Saturn-Film AG (Lost)
1917 Küsse, die man stiehlt im Dunkeln  ? Saturn-Film AG (Lost)
1917 Die toten Augen  ? Saturn-Film AG (Lost)
1917 Wenn das Herz in Haß erglüht Kurt Matull Saturn-Film AG English title translation: When the Heart Burns With Hate
This film survives and has been shown at La Cinémathèque Francaise in Paris, France, and at the Museum of Cinematography in Łodz, Poland. (Survives)
1918 Rosen, die der Sturm entblättert  ? Saturn-Film AG (Lost)
1918 Mania Eugen Illés UFA Set design by Paul Leni
Full title: Mania, Die Geschichte einer Zigarettenarbeiterin (Mania: The Story of a Cigarette Girl). (Survives)
1918 Die Augen der Mumie Mâ Ernst Lubitsch UFA Co-stars: Harry Leidtke, Emil Jannings
Alternate title: The Eyes of the Mummy Ma (U.S. release)
First Negri/Lubitsch collaboration (Survives)
1918 Der gelbe Schein Victor Janson and Eugen Illés UFA Co-stars: Harry Liedtke, Victor Janson
Alternate title: The Yellow Ticket (Survives)
1918 Carmen Ernst Lubitsch UFA Co-star: Harry Liedtke
Alternate title: Gypsy Blood (U.S. release)
(Survives)
1919 Das Karussell des Lebens Georg Jacoby UFA Co-star: Harry Leidtke
English title translation: The Carousel of Life; Alternate title: The Last Payment (U.S. release) (Lost)
1919 Vendetta Georg Jacoby UFA Co-stars: Emil Jannings, Harry Liedtke
Alternate title: Blutrache (Blood Revenge) (Lost)
1919 Dämmerung des Todes Georg Jacoby UFA (Lost)
1919 Kreuziget sie! Georg Jacoby UFA Co-stars: Harry Liedtke, Victor Janson (Lost)
1919 Madame Dubarry Ernst Lubitsch UFA Co-stars: Emil Jannings, Harry Liedtke
Alternate title: Passion (U.S. release) (Survives)
1919 Komtesse Doddy Georg Jacoby UFA Co-stars: Harry Liedtke, Victor Janson
Alternate title: Komtesse Dolly (Survives)
1920 Die Marchesa d'Arminiani Alfred Halm UFA English title translation: The Marquise of Armiani (Lost)
1920 Sumurun Ernst Lubitsch UFA Co-stars: Ernst Lubitsch, Paul Wegener, Harry Liedtke, Jenny Hasselqvist
Alternate title: One Arabian night (U.S. release)
A film remake of the Max Reinhardt theater production, which also featured Negri and Lubitsch in the same respective roles, this is the only time the two appeared on screen together and is the last time the Lubitsch would appear on-screen as an actor. (Survives)
1920 Das Martyrium Paul Ludwig Stein UFA (Lost)
1920 Die geschlossene Kette Paul Ludwig Stein UFA English title translation: The Closed Chain; Alternate title: Intrigue (U.S. release) (Lost)
1920 Arme Violetta Paul Ludwig Stein UFA (Lost)
1921 Die Bergkatze Ernst Lubitsch UFA Co-stars: Victor Janson, Paul Heidemann
English title translation: The Mountain Cat; Alternate title: The Wildcat
A German Expressionist comedy and parody of the Expressionist film genre. (Survives)
1921 Sappho Dimitri Buchowetzki UFA Co-stars: Alfred Abel, Johannes Riemann
Alternate title: Mad Love (U.S. release) (Survives)
1923 The Flame Ernst Lubitsch Ernst Lubitsch Film GmbH Co-stars: Alfred Abel, Hermann Thimig
Alternate title: Montmarte (U.S. Release)
Ernst Lubitsch's final German film. (Survives)

Paramount Period[edit]

Year Film Director Company Notes
1923 Bella Donna George Fitzmaurice Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Co-stars: Conway Tearle, Conrad Nagel, Adolphe Menjou
Remake of the 1915 film Bella Donna starring Pauline Frederick. (Survives; Gosfilmofond)
1923 The Cheat George Fitzmaurice Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Co-stars: Jack Holt, Charles de Roche
Remake of the 1915 film The Cheat starring Fannie Ward and Sessue Hayakawa. (Lost)
1923 Hollywood James Cruze Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Negri plays a cameo role in this film, which features guest appearances from many other Hollywood stars from the period. (Lost)
1923 The Spanish Dancer Herbert Brenon Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Co-stars: Antonio Moreno, Wallace Beery, Adolphe Menjou; (Survives)
1924 Shadows of Paris Herbert Brenon Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Co-stars: Charles de Roche, Adolphe Menjou, George O’Brien; (Lost)
1924 Men Dimitri Buchowetzki Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount (Lost)
1924 Lily of the Dust Dimitri Buchowetzki Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Co-stars: Ben Lyon, Noah Beery, Raymond Griffith; (Lost)
1924 Forbidden Paradise Ernst Lubitsch Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Co-stars: Rod La Rocque, Adolphe Menjou, Pauline Starke, Clark Gable (in a bit role).
Only American Lubitsch/Negri collaboration and their final film together; (Survives)
1925 East of Suez Raoul Walsh Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Co-stars: Edmund Lowe, Noah Beery
Negri's only film directed by Raoul Walsh; (Lost)
1925 The Charmer Sidney Olcott Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount (Lost)
1925 Flower of the Night Paul Bern Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Co-stars: Warner Oland, Gustav von Seyffertitz; (Lost)
1925 A Woman of the World Malcolm St. Clair Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Co-stars: Charles Emmett Mack, Holmes Herbert, Chester Conklin (Survives)
1926 The Crown of Lies Dimitri Buchowetzki Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount (Lost)
1926 Good and Naughty Malcolm St. Clair Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount co-stars: Ford Sterling, Miss DuPont (Lost)
1927 Hotel Imperial Mauritz Stiller Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Co-stars: James Hall, George Siegmann, Max Davidson; (Survives)
1927 Barbed Wire Rowland V. Lee
Mauritz Stiller
Paramount Co-stars: Clive Brook, Einar Hanson, Gustav von Seyffertitz
Mauritz Stiller started the film, but was replaced with Rowland V. Lee early on in the film (Survives)
1927 The Woman on Trial Mauritz Stiller Paramount (Lost; per silentera.com). Fragments survive Museum of Modern Art.
1928 The Secret Hour Rowland V. Lee Paramount (Lost)
1928 Three Sinners Rowland V. Lee Paramount Co-stars: Warner Baxter, Paul Lukas, Olga Baclanova; (Lost)
1928 Loves of an Actress Ludwig Berger Paramount Co-stars: Nils Asther, Paul Lukas
Silent film with soundtrack; (Lost)
1928 The Woman from Moscow Ludwig Berger Paramount Co-stars: Norman Kerry, Paul Lukas, Otto Matiesen
Alternate title: Rachel
Silent film with soundtrack; (Lost)

International (sound period)[edit]

Year Film Director Company Country Notes
1929 The Woman He Scorned Paul Czinner Charles Whittaker Productions UK (Distributed By Warners UK) United Kingdom Co-stars: Hans Rehmann, Warwick Ward
Alternate Titles: The Way of Lost Souls, Street of Abandoned Children
Silent film with soundtrack. Pola Negri's final silent film.
1932 A Woman Commands George Fitzmaurice RKO USA Co-stars: Basil Rathbone, Roland Young, H.B. Warner
Alternate title: Maria Draga
Negri's first sound film; features the songs “Paradise”, “I Wanna Be Kissed”, “Promise You Will Remember Me”. “Paradise” was a major hit and a went on to become a standard for many years; it was covered by Russ Colombo and Louis Prima, featured in the television show Adventures in Paradise, and used as soundtrack music for other films from the time.
1934 Fanatisme Tony Lekain, Gaston Ravel Pathé France Negri's only French film; features her singing three songs
1935 Mazurka Willi Forst Cine-Allianz/Tobis-Klangfilm Germany Co-stars: Ingeborg Theek, Paul Hartmann, Albrecht Schoenhals
Features the songs “Je sens en moi”, “Mazurka”, and “Nur Eine Stunde”. Remade in 1937 by Warner Brothers as Confession starring Kay Francis and directed by German director Joe May
1936 Moskau-Shanghai Paul Wegener UFA Germany Co-star: Gustav Diessl
Alternate Titles: Von Moskau der Shanghai, Der Weg nach Shanghai, Begenung in Shanghai, Zwuischen Moskau und Shanghai
Features the song "Mein Herz hat Heimweh..."
1937 Madame Bovary Gerhard Lamprecht UFA Germany Pola Negri's only German sound film to be shown in the United States.
1937 Tango Notturno Fritz Kirchoff UFA Germany Co-star: Albrecht Schoenhals
Features the songs "Ich Hab an Dich Gedacht" and "Kommt das Glück nicht Heut? Dann kommt Es Morgen"
1937 Die fromme Lüge Nunzio Malasomma UFA Germany Co-star: Hermann Braun
1938 Die Nacht der Entscheidung Nunzio Malasomma UFA Germany Co-star: Iván Petrovich
Features the songs "Siehst Du die Sterne am Himmel" and "Zeig' der Welt nicht Dein Herz"

Last Films (USA)[edit]

Year Film Director Company Notes
1943 Hi Diddle Diddle Andrew L. Stone Andrew L. Stone Productions (Distributed by United Artists) Co-stars: Adolphe Menjou, Martha Scott, Billie Burke, Dennis O'Keefe, June Havoc
1964 The Moon-Spinners James Nielson Walt Disney Productions Co-stars: Hayley Mills, Eli Wallach

Discography[edit]

Negri released a total of ten 78 rpm singles. In 1931, she recorded seven gypsy folk songs in London accompanied by guitars and chorus, six of which were released as the sides of three records on Victor's His Master's Voice imprint. She recorded a French-language version of "Paradise" in Paris in 1933 with "Mes Nuits sont Morts" as its flip side. (Sheet music was released for the English-language version, but the recorded version only appeared in the 1932 film, A Woman Commands, and was never released as a record.) The remainder of Negri's recordings, cut from 1935 to 1938, centered around songs that she sang in her German sound films.[52][53]

Matrix No. Single No. Label Song Title Time and Place of Recording Notes
OB-641 HMV EK-114 His Master's Voice V chas toski (The Hour of Longing) Small Queen's Hall, London, 12 March 1931. Accompanied by Boris Golovka and two others on guitar, with chorus.
OB-642 HMV EK-114 His Master's Voice Chto nam gore? (Why Are You Sorry?) same same
OB-643 (Not Released) His Master's Voice Yescho raz (Once again) same same
OB-647 HMV B-3820 His Master's Voice Ochy Tchornye (Dark Eyes) Small Queen's Hall, London, 13 March 1931. same
OB-648 HMV EK-115 His Master's Voice Why Fall in Love? same same
OB-649 HMV B-3820 His Master's Voice Adieu (Farewell, My Gypsy Camp) same same
OB-650 HMV EK-114 His Master's Voice Dwe gitary (Two Guitars aka "Gypsy, Sing!") same same; dedicated to Pola Negri by Boris Golovka.
P 76523 AP 989 Ultraphone Mes Nuits sont Mortes Paris, July 1933.
P 76524 AP 989 Ultraphone Paradis Paris, July 1933. French-language version of "Paradise"; A-side of single AP 989
P Be 10937-3 0–4723 Odéon Je sens en moi Berlin, 8 April 1935. Song from the film Mazurka (1935); orchestra arr. by Peter Kreuder.
P Be 10938-3 0–4723 Odéon Nur eine Stunde Berlin, 8 April 1935. Song from the film Mazurka (1935); orchestra arr. by Peter Kreuder.
128338 R 2271 Parlophone For That One Hour Berlin, c. early 1936. English-language version of "Nur eine Stunde." Original version from the film Mazurka.
128337 R 2271 Parlophone Stay Close to Me Berlin, c. early 1936. English-language version of "Je sans en moi." Original version from the film Mazurka.
P Be 11241 0–4736 Odéon Vergiss deine Sehnsucht Berlin, 17 March 1936. Orchestra arranged by W. Schmidt-Boelcke.
P Be 11242 0–4736 Odéon Wenn die Sonne hinter den Dach Versinkt Berlin, 17 March 1936. Orchestra arranged by W. Schmidt-Boelcke.
P Be 11432-2 0–4742 Odéon Mein Herz hat Heimweh... Berlin, 2 September 1936. Song from the film Moskau-Shanghai (1936). Orchestra arranged by Hans-Otto Borgmann.
P Be 11433 0–4742 Odéon Ich Mochte Einmal nur mein ganzes Herz Verschwenden Berlin, 2 September 1936. Orchestra arranged by Hans-Otto Borgmann.
P Be 11891 0–4765 Odéon Ich hab an Dich Gedacht Berlin, 15 December 1937. Song from the film Tango Notturno (1937). Orchestra arranged by Hans-Otto Borgmann.
P Be 11892 0–4765 Odéon Kommt das Gluck nicht Heut? Dann kommt es Morgen Berlin, 15 December 1937. Song from the film Tango Notturno (1937). Orchestra arranged by Hans-Otto Borgmann.
P Be 12171 0 288233 Odéon Zeig der Welt nicht dein Herz Berlin, 30 December 1938. Song from the film Die Nacht der Entscheidung (1938). Orchestra arranged by Lothar Bruhne.
P Be 12172 0 288233 Odéon Siehst du die Sterne Berlin, 30 December 1938. Song from the film Die Nacht der Entscheidung (1938). Orchestra arranged by Lothar Bruhne.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Kotowski, Mariusz. Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema, Bright Shining City Productions (2006), DVD
  2. ^ Note: her Slovak father's surname was Chalupec not Chałupec, as the letter "ł" does not exist outside the Polish language, but would have been transcribed according to Polish language/naming customs.
  3. ^ Some sources cite 31 December 1896 as Negri's date of birth but the four day discrepancy is due to the change in styling from the Julian calendar (OS) of Imperial Russia to the Gregorian calendar (NS) in Poland. Other sources which cite 31 December 1899 are incorrect per biographer Kotowski.
  4. ^ a b c d e Kotowski, Mariusz. Pola Negri: Hollywood's First Femme Fatale, University Press of Kentucky (24 March 2014); ISBN 0813144884/ISBN 978-081314488
  5. ^ http://www.polanegri.com/bio.htm
  6. ^ a b Long, Christopher. Barbara CHALUPEC profile, Handbook of Texas Online; accessed 25 January 2011.
  7. ^ a b Negri, Pola. Memoirs of a Star. New York: Doubleday, 1970, pp. 16, 22, 87-90, 405; ASIN B0006C0782
  8. ^ Votruba, Martin. "Pola Negri". Slovak Studies Program. University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  9. ^ Łanucha, Jan. "Od Apolonii do Poli zwanej Politą". Forum Polonijne 3 (2007): 23. ISSN 1234-2807. 
  10. ^ Adam Mickiewicz Institute (2011). "Pola Negri". Resource Library. Culture.pl. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  11. ^ Bock, Hans-Michael: The Concise Cinegraph: encyclopaedia of German cinema, New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books (2009), p. 338.
  12. ^ a b c Negri, Pola (1970). Memoirs of a Star. New York: Doubleday. pp. 318–319. ASIN B0006C0782. 
  13. ^ Beinhorn, Courtenay Wyche (master's degree thesis). The Film Career of Pola Negri 1914–1964, University of Texas at Austin, January 1975, p. 8.
  14. ^ 1978 interview with Pola Negri, Polanegri.com.
  15. ^ a b Kreimeier, Klaus. The UFA Story: A Story of Germany's Greatest Film Company 1918–1945. University of California Press, 1999.
  16. ^ Dinsmore, Jack (February 1922). "Pola Negri". Hot Dog: 26. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  17. ^ Gasten, David. "Pola Negri biodata". La Cinémathèque Française. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  18. ^ Biskupski, M.B.B. (2010) Hollywood's War With Poland 1939–1945, p. 12, University Press of Kentucky; ISBN 978-0-8131-2559-6
  19. ^ Taylor, Angela. "Pola Negri's Memoirs: Best Roles Were Played In Real Life", The New York Times, 24 April 1970, p. 30.
  20. ^ Kobal, John. The Art of the Great Hollywood Portrait Photographers, 1925–1940. London: Michael Joseph Publishing, 1988.
  21. ^ Edmonds, I.G., and Reiko Mimura. Paramount Pictures and the People Who Made Them. San Diego: A.S. Barnes and Co., Inc., 1980, p. 112.
  22. ^ Chaplin, Charles. My Autobiography. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1964, p. 300.
  23. ^ a b c d Pola Negri at the Internet Movie Database
  24. ^ Hotel Imperial on DVD, Polanegri.com; accessed 17 May 2014.
  25. ^ "Pola Negri To Screen Shaw's 'Cleopatra'." New York Times, 1 December 1928, p. 14.
  26. ^ "Pola Negri Collapses", New York Times, 13 November 1933, p. 21.
  27. ^ "Pola Negri Left Behind", New York Times, 14 November 1933, p. 22.
  28. ^ Billboard, 29 January 1944, p. 22.
  29. ^ Lewandowski, Jan F. Pola Negri w Sosnowcu. Katowice: Wydawnictwo Gnome, 2002.
  30. ^ Bodeen, DeWitt, and Gene Ringgold. "Pola Negri", Screen Facts #15, vol 3, #3 (1967), p. 14.
  31. ^ Ben Lyon interview in Hollywood: Swanson and Valentino, directed by Kevin Brownlow for Thames Television (1980).
  32. ^ "Pola Negri Divorce Granted in Paris", The New York Times, 3 April 1931, p. 35.
  33. ^ Lanza, Joseph and Dennis Penna. Russ Columbo and the Crooner Mystique. Port Townsend, WA: Feral House, 2002. p. 247.
  34. ^ Gonzales, Br. Alexis, and Joseph Dispenza. "The Imperial Pola Negri", The Sunday Express-News. 29 March 1970, p. 15.
  35. ^ a b c d Pola Negri FAQ, Polanegri.com; accessed 17 May 2014.
  36. ^ Gonzales and Dispenza, p. 2.
  37. ^ "Pola Negri, Famous Silent Film Star, Will Make Guest Appearance At Museum", Press Release from the Museum of Modern Art (1970_; accessed 25 January 2011.
  38. ^ Greg Barrios, "Negri Called S.A. Home", The Sunday Express-News (San Antonio, TX), 2 August 1987, p. 4-A.
  39. ^ San Antonio Light, 9 August 1987, pp. J-11, J-14.
  40. ^ The Sunday Express-News, 2 August 1987, p. 4-A.
  41. ^ Los Angeles Times, 3 August 1987, pp. 3, 13.
  42. ^ Obituary, New York Times, 3 August 1987, p. D11.
  43. ^ Greg Barrios, "Femme Fatale Silent Film Star Pola Negri Succumbs in Texas", Variety, 5 August 1987, p. 4, 27.
  44. ^ a b Pola Negri at Find a Grave
  45. ^ Life is a Dream in Cinema by Pola Negri, Polish Cultural Institute.com, retrieved 13 November 2013.
  46. ^ About Our Logo, chicagofilmfestival.com; accessed 29 July 2014.
  47. ^ "Polish Film Festivals", Polish Music News, April 2006, vol 12, #4; ISSN 1098-9188. Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California.
  48. ^ Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema page, Polanegri.com; accessed 29 July 2014.
  49. ^ "Pola Negri: new biog salutes Polish star", Polski Radio, 25 February 2011; accessed 2 March 2011.
  50. ^ a b Pola Negri newspage; updated 26 November 2013.
  51. ^ (1939) O czym się nie mówi 04/10 on YouTube
  52. ^ Rust, Brian A., and Allen G. Debus. The complete entertainment discography, from the mid-1890s to 1942. Arlington House, 1973, p. 499.
  53. ^ Unknown author, liner notes of Pola Negri and Rudolph Valentino CD. Chansophone [France], 1995, pp. 2,3.

References[edit]

  • Barry, Iris. Let's Go to the Movies. Payson & Clarke, Ltd., 1926.
  • Basinger, Jeanine. Silent Stars. Alfred a Knoff, 2000.
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  • Cawthorne, Nigel. Sex Lives of the Hollywood Idols. Prion Books, Ltd., 1997.
  • Chaplin, Charles. My Trip Abroad. Harper & Brothers, 1921.
  • Clarke, David. Location: Cornwall. Bossiney Books, 1990.
  • Endres, Stacey, and Robert Cschman. Hollywood At Your Feet: The Story of the World-Famous Chinese Theatre. Pomegranate Press, 1992.
  • Everson, William K. American Silent Film. Da Capo Press, 1998.
  • Eyman, Scott. Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise. Simon & Schuster, 1993.
  • Guiles, Fred Lawrence. Marion Davies. McGraw-Hill, 1972.
  • Hake, Sabine. Passions And Deceptions: The Early Films of Ernest Lubitsch. Princeton University Press, 1992.
  • Keylin, Arleen, and Suri Fleischer. Hollywood Album. Arno Press, 1977.
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  • Lanza, Joseph and Dennis Penna. Russ Columbo and the Crooner Mystique. Feral House, 2002.
  • Leider, Emily W. Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino. Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2003.
  • Oberfirst, Robert. Rudolph Valentino: The Man Behind The Myth. The Citadel Press, 1962.
  • Parish, James Robert. The Hollywood Scandals. McGraw-Hill, 2004.
  • Swanson, Gloria. Swanson On Swanson. Random House, 1980.
  • Villecco, Tony. Silent Stars Speak. McFarland & Company, Inc., 2001.
  • Zumaya, Evelyn, Affairs Valentino. The Rudolph Valentino Society and Publishing LLC, 2011. ISBN 978-0-9827709-5-5
  • (Polish/German) Legenda Kina: Pola Negri: Eine Kinilegende Muzeum Kinematografii w Lodzi, 2007.
  • (Polish/English) Legenda Kina: Pola Negri: A Cinema Legend Muzeum Kinematografii w Lodzi, 2008.
  • (Polish) Czapińska, Wiesława (1996). Pola Negri – polska królowa Hollywood. Warsaw: Philip Wilson. p. 129. ISBN 83-85840-78-8. 
  • (Polish) Nowakowski, Jerzy. "Boska Pola i inni" wyd. TO MY, Warszawa, 2005
  • (Polish) Kotowski, Mariusz. Pola Negri: Legenda Hollywood. Proszynski Media, 2011.

External links[edit]