Pola Negri is most famous for her annoying publicity--her hysterical scene-stealing at Valentino's funeral and her supposed feud with Gloria Swanson alienated her public, and the American fan magazines had it in for her from the moment she entered Hollywood. All this has obscured the fact that she was a superb actress with a body of excellent films to her credit.
Beginning in Polish films, she became an international star of the German cinema, appearing most notably in the films of Ernst Lubitsch. Pola was not a conventional beauty, and her earthy character and uninhibited acting was something new in films. Hollywood claimed her and tried to glamorize her, but beneath her now haughty and often witty exterior lurked naked emotions, threatening to burst out when the going got rough.
Pola Negri is surely one of the joys of silent film.
Negri, Pola. Memoirs of a Star. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1970.
Basinger, Jeanine. Silent Stars. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999: p. 202-263.
Florey, Robert. Pola Negri : ses debuts, ses films, ses aventures. Paris : Jean Pascal, 1926?. (Les Grands Artistes de l'Ecran) Cover Image (thanks to Joop van Dijk for this scan)
Franklin, Joe [and William K. Everson].Classics of the Silent Screen. New York : Citadel Press, 5th ed., 1971 (originally published 1959): p. 208-209.
Golden, Eve. Golden Images. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2001: p. 118-123. Also available online (see Eve Golden's Classic Images link above).
Negra, Diane. "Immigrant Stardom in Imperial America: Pola Negri and the Problem of Typology," in Jennifer Bean and Diane Negra (eds), A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002) (previously appeared in Camera Obscura 16.3 (2001) 159-195)
Tak, Max. Pola Negri: die Groote Kunstenaars van het Witte Doek.. Amsterdam: Scheltens & Giltay, 19??. Cover Image (thanks to Joop van Dijk for this scan)
©2001, by Greta de Groat. All Rights Reserved
Last revised October 15, 2010