Pola Negri

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Pola Negri
BornApolonia Chalupec
(1897-12-31)31 December 1897
Lipno, Poland
Died1 August 1987(1987-08-01) (aged 90)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
OccupationActress, author, singer
Years active1914–1964
Spouse(s)Count Eugeniusz Dambski (1919–1922)
Prince Serge Mdivani (1927–1931)
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Pola Negri
BornApolonia Chalupec
(1897-12-31)31 December 1897
Lipno, Poland
Died1 August 1987(1987-08-01) (aged 90)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
OccupationActress, author, singer
Years active1914–1964
Spouse(s)Count Eugeniusz Dambski (1919–1922)
Prince Serge Mdivani (1927–1931)

Pola Negri (31 December 1897 – 1 August 1987) was a Polish stage and film actress who achieved worldwide fame for her tragedienne and femme fatale roles from the 1910s through the 1940s during the Golden Era of Hollywood film. She was the first European film star to be invited to Hollywood, and became a great American star. She also started several important women's fashion trends. She is known for being one of the most popular stars of the silent film era, and her varied career included work as an actress in silent and talking films, theater, and vaudeville; as a singer and recording artist; as an author; and as a ballerina.


Early life

Negri was born Apolonia Chałupiec according to her birth record and autobiography[1] in Lipno, Vistula Land, Russian Empire (present-day Poland). She was the youngest of three children, but because the first two died young, she grew up as an only child. Her mother, whose maiden name was Eleonora Kiełczewska, was reportedly impoverished Polish royalty,[2] and her father, Jerzy Chalupec, was a Slovak immigrant tinsmith.[1][3] After Chalupec's 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 extreme poverty.[4]

Chalupec was accepted into the Imperial Ballet of Warsaw, and began training in the ballet academy. The Academy’s patron and ballet enthusiast was Tsar Nicholas II. The Academy produced such world famous ballerinas as Pawlowa, Tamara Karsawina, and Matilda Krzesinska. Chalupec's first dance performance was in the chorus of baby swans in Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, and she worked her way up to a solo role in the Saint-Léon ballet Coppélia. A bout of tuberculosis forced her to stop dancing. Chalupec 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,[5] with Pola being short for Apolonia.

Polish theatre and film career

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 October 2, 1912. Her performance received much acclaim, and she continued to perform there while finishing her studies at the Academy. She graduated 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.[6] By the end of World War I, Negri had established herself as a popular stage actress. She made an appearance in the Grand Theatre (in Sumurun), as well as in Small Theatre (Aleksander Fredro's Śluby panieńskie) and at the Summer Theatre in the Saxon Garden, a popular summer variété theatre.

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 Room No. 13 (Pokój Nr. 13), His Last Gesture (Jego Ostatni Czyn), Students (Studenci), and The Wife (Żona).[7] Negri gained much popularity during her short screen career in Warsaw, acting alongside many of the most renowned Polish film artists of the time, including Józef Węgrzyn, Władysław Grabowski, Józef Galewski, and Kazimierz Junosza-Stępowski.

Ernst Lubitsch and German silent film career

In 1917, Negri's popularity provided her with an opportunity to move to Berlin, Germany, 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,[8] 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).

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 United States 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.

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 September 12, 1922. This ended up making 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, Marlene Dietrich, Madeleine Carroll,Ingrid Bergman, Hedy Lamarr, Sophia Loren, and many others.

Paramount period

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,[9] 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.[10] Negri was a favorite photography subject of the famous Hollywood portrait photographer Eugene Robert Richee,[11] 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 the Paramount lot, 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."[12]

Initially Paramount utilized Negri as a mysterious European femme fatale and as a clotheshorse as they did with their other major actress Gloria Swanson, and staged an ongoing feud between the two actresses which actor Charlie Chaplin remembered in his autobiography as "a mélange of cooked-up jealousies and quarrels."[13] 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 which was parodied in the Mal St. Clair-directed comedy A Woman of the World (1925), which Negri starred in.

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

Paramount then began to cast 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.[14] Although Hotel Imperial reportedly fared well at the box office, her next film Barbed Wire (1927) and a number of her subsequent films performed poorly in the United States due to the poor publicity surrounding her behavior at her former lover Rudolph Valentino's New York funeral and her rebound marriage to Georgian prince Serge Mdivani, although internationally her films continued to fare well.

In 1928, Negri made her last film for Paramount Pictures, The Woman From Moscow, opposite actor Norman Kerry. Negri claims in her autobiography that she opted not to renew her contract with Paramount, choosing instead to retire from films and live as a wife and expectant mother in the Château de Rueil-Séraincourt in Vigny, France, which she owned at the time.[15] That same year, she wrote a short volume featuring her reflections on art and film entitled La Vie et Le Rêve au Cinéma (Life and Dreams in the Movies).[16]

Later career

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

Negri's initial 1928 retirement turned out to be short-lived. Negri miscarried her baby, and eventually learned that her husband was gambling her fortune away on speculative business ventures, straining their relationship. She went back into pictures 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.[17] 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.

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 sang the song "Paradise" in the film, and the song became a sizable hit and for many years was considered to be a standard. The song 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 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 gall bladder inflammation[18] and was unable to complete the tour.[19]

Negri returned to France to appear in Fanatisme (Fanaticism, 1934), an historical costume film about Napoleón 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. After this, actor-director Willi Forst brought Negri to Germany appear in the film Mazurka (1935). 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 about Negri having had an affair with Hitler. Negri sued for libel a French magazine, Pour Vous, that had circulated the rumor and won the case. Mazurka was remade (almost shot-for-shot) in the U.S. as a Kay Francis picture, Confession.

Martha Scott and Pola 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 America. She sailed to New York from Lisbon, Portugal, and initially lived by selling off her jewelry collection. Negri 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 or her role in Hi Diddle Diddle, all of which she turned down. In 1944, Negri was engaged by booking agent Miles Ingalls for a nationwide vaudeville tour.[20] According to her autobiography, she also appeared in a Boston supper club engagement in 1945 for a repertoire centered around the song "Paradise",[21] and soon after decided to retire from the entertainment business altogether.

Personal life

Negri and Mdivani.

Negri's first marriage was with Count Eugeniusz Dąmbski, and would prove to be short lived. Negri married Dambski in St Mary's Assumption Church in Sosnowiec in November 5, 1919, thus becoming Countessa Apolonia Dąmbska-Chałupiec. After a long separation period, Negri and Dąmbski were divorced on 1922.[22] During their separation period, Negri met industrialist Wolfgang George Schleber, whom she called "Petronius" after the main character in Quo Vadis. Negri would be Schleber's mistress for most of the remainder of her stay in Germany.

After Negri began working in the United States, she began making headlines and gossip columns with a string of celebrity love affairs with stars such as 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".[23] The relationship soured, and Negri became involved for a time with actor Rod La Rocque, who also appeared opposite her in Forbidden Paradise (1924).

Negri then met Rudolph Valentino at a costume party held by Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst at the San Simeon estate, and was Valentino's lover until his death in 1926. Negri caused a media sensation at his New York funeral in August 24, 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.[24] The press dismissed her actions as a publicity stunt. At the time of his death and for the remainder of her life, Negri would state that Valentino was the love of her life.

Negri followed this with her second marriage, this one to Georgian prince Serge Mdivani, which 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 May 14, 1927 (less than nine months after Valentino's death), and were divorced on April 2, 1931.[25]

While residing at the Ambassador Hotel in New York in April 1932, Negri was romantically involved with Russ Columbo and performed with him in the George Jessel Variety Revue at The Schubert Theatre. After the premier of Negri's film A Woman Commands in Hollywood, Russ 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.[26]

Negri was close friends with actresses Mae Murray and Marion Davies, and in fact was sister-in-law to Murray for a time, who was married to David Mdivani, brother to Negri's husband Serge Mdivani. Davies allowed Negri to live in her bungalow when Negri initially emigrated back to California in the 1940s.

Retirement and later years

After Negri retired from films, she became close friends with Margaret West, an oil heiress and vaudeville actress the she had originally met in the 1930s. The two became housemates, and moved from Los Angeles to San Antonio, Texas, in 1957.[27] Negri would live with West until the latter's death in 1963. Negri became a naturalized citizen of the United States on January 12, 1951.[28]

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 also 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 Joe Gillis eventually went to William Holden, and Gloria Swanson, Negri's former "rival" at Paramount, accepted the Norma Desmond role.[29]

Negri came out of retirement once 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 over the course of two weeks. During the time that Negri was filming The Moon-Spinners in London, 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.

After West's death, Negri moved out of the home she had shared with West into a townhome located at 7707 Broadway in San Antonio. She spent the remainder of her years there, largely out of the public eye. 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.[30] In 1970 she published her autobiography, Memoirs of a Star, which was published by Doubleday.

Negri made an appearance at The Museum of Modern Art on April 30, 1970, for a screening event in her honor, which featured her film A Woman of the World (1925) and selections from her films.[31] Negri was also guest of honor at a 1972 screening of Carmen held at the Witte Museum in San Antonio.[32]

In 1975, director Vincente Minnelli approached Negri to appear as the Contessa Sanziani in his film A Matter of Time, but Negri was unable to accept the part due to poor health. The role ended up going to Ingrid Bergman instead.

In 1978, Billy Wilder directed the film Fedora; although Negri does not appear in the film, the title character is based largely on her.[29]

Negri's 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.

Death and legacy

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.

Pola Negri died on 1 August 1987, at the age of 89. Her death was caused by pneumonia, however she was also suffering from a brain tumor (for which she had refused treatment). 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. Negri's death received extensive coverage in her hometown newspapers San Antonio Light,[33] and San Antonio Express-News,[34] and in publications such as Los Angeles Times[35] New York Times,[36] and Variety magazine.[37]

Negri was interred in Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles next to her mother, Eleonora. Since she had no children, she left most of her estate to St. Mary's University in Texas, including several rare prints of her films. 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.

Pola Negri donated her collection of memorabilia to St. Mary's University in San Antonio, who also set up a scholarship in her name.[38] The Polish Film Festival of Los Angeles remembers Negri with a Pola Negri Award given to outstanding film artists, and the Pola Negri Museum in Lipno gives a Polita award for outstanding artist achievement.

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.[39] She has also received, along with Roman Polanski, a star in Poland's Walk of Fame in Łódź. The Polish post office issued a Stamp honoring Negri in 1996.

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

In 2006, a feature-length documentary about Negri's life, directed by Mariusz Kotowski and entitled Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema, premiered at the Seventh Annual Polish Film Festival of Los Angeles.[40] The documentary is notable for its in-depth interviews with film stars Hayley Mills and Eli Wallach, who were starring actress and supporting actor respectively in the Walt Disney film The Moon-Spinners (1964), Pola Negri's final film. Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema has played at Pola Negri retrospective screenings in The United States and Europe, most notably at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and La Cinémathèque Française in Paris.[41] Kotowski also authored a Polish-language biography of Pola Negri entitled Pola Negri: Legenda Hollywood (English title: Pola Negri: Hollywood Legend), which was released in Poland on February 24, 2011,[42] and produced a 3-DVD compilation of early Pola Negri films entitled Pola Negri, The Iconic Collection: The Early Years (2011).[43]


Polish Period

1914Niewolnica zmysłówAlexander HertzSphinx CompanyAlternate Titles: The Polish Dancer (US release title), Der Sklave der Sinne, Slave of Sin
Poland's first feature film
1915ŻonaAlexander HertzSphinx CompanyEnglish title translation: Wife
1915Czarna książkaAlexander HertzSphinx CompanyEnglish title translation: The Yellow Pass
An early version of Dear Gelbe Schein (The Yellow Ticket)
1916StudenciAlexander HertzSphinx CompanyEnglish title translation: Students
1916BestiaAlexander HertzSphinx CompanyEnglish title translation: Beast, Bad Girl
1917Tajemnica alei UjazdowskichAlexander HertzSphinx CompanyEnglish title translation: Mystery of Uyazdovsky Lane
Part of the Tajemince Warszawy (Mysteries of Warsaw) serial.
1917Pokój Nr. 13Alexander HertzSphinx CompanyEnglish title translation: Room #13
Part of the Tajemince Warszawy (Mysteries of Warsaw) serial.
1917ArabellaAlexander HertzSphinx Company
1917Jego ostatni czynAlexander HertzSphinx CompanyEnglish title translation: His Last Gesture

German Silent Period

1917Nicht lange täuschte mich das GlückKurt Matull?Saturn-Film AGNegri plays a dual supporting role as a nun and a cabaret dancer.
1917Zügelloses Blut ?Saturn-Film AG
1917Küsse, die man stiehlt im Dunkeln ?Saturn-Film AG
1917Die toten Augen ?Saturn-Film AG
1917Wenn das Herz in Haß erglühtKurt MatullSaturn-Film AGEnglish 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.
1918Rosen, die der Sturm entblättert ?Saturn-Film AG
1918ManiaEugen IllésUFASet design by Paul Leni
Full title: Mania, Die Geschichte einer Zigarettenarbeiterin (Mania: The Story of a Cigarette Girl).
1918Die Augen der Mumie MâErnst LubitschUFACo-stars: Harry Leidtke, Emil Jannings
Alternate title: The Eyes of the Mummy Ma (U.S. release)
First Negri/Lubitsch collaboration
1918Der gelbe ScheinVictor Janson and Eugen IllésUFACo-stars: Harry Liedtke, Victor Janson
Alternate title: The Yellow Ticket
1918CarmenErnst LubitschUFACo-star: Harry Liedtke
Alternate title: Gypsy Blood (U.S. release)
1919Das Karussell des LebensGeorg JacobyUFACo-star: Harry Leidtke
English title translation: The Carousel of Life; Alternate title: The Last Payment (U.S. release)
1919VendettaGeorg JacobyUFACo-stars: Emil Jannings, Harry Liedtke
Alternate title: Blutrache (Blood Revenge)
1919Dämmerung des TodesGeorg JacobyUFA
1919Kreuziget sie!Georg JacobyUFACo-stars: Harry Liedtke, Victor Janson
1919Madame DubarryErnst LubitschUFACo-stars: Emil Jannings, Harry Liedtke
Alternate title: Passion (U.S. release)
1919Komtesse DoddyGeorg JacobyUFACo-stars: Harry Liedtke, Victor Janson
Alternate title: Komtesse Dolly
1920Die Marchesa d'ArminianiAlfred HalmUFAEnglish title translation: The Marquise of Armiani
1920SumurunErnst LubitschUFACo-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.
1920Das MartyriumPaul Ludwig SteinUFA
1920Die geschlossene KettePaul Ludwig SteinUFAEnglish title translation: The Closed Chain; Alternate title: Intrigue (U.S. release)
1920Arme ViolettaPaul Ludwig SteinUFA
1921Die BergkatzeErnst LubitschUFACo-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.
1921SapphoDimitri BuchowetzkiUFACo-stars: Alfred Abel, Johannes Riemann
Alternate title: Mad Love (U.S. release)
1922Die FlammeErnst LubitschErnst Lubitsch Film GmbHCo-stars: Alfred Abel, Hermann Thimig
Alternate title: Montmarte (U.S. Release)
Ernst Lubitsch's final German film.

Paramount Period

1923Bella DonnaGeorge FitzmauriceFamous Players-Lasky/ParamountCo-stars: Conway Tearle, Conrad Nagel, Adolphe Menjou
Remake of the 1915 film Bella Donna starring Pauline Frederick. (Survives; Gosfilmofond)
1923The CheatGeorge FitzmauriceFamous Players-Lasky/ParamountCo-stars: Jack Holt, Charles de Roche
Remake of the 1915 film The Cheat starring Fannie Ward and Sessue Hayakawa. (Lost)
1923HollywoodJames CruzeFamous Players-Lasky/ParamountNegri plays a cameo role in this film, which features guest appearances from many other Hollywood stars from the period. (Lost)
1923The Spanish DancerHerbert BrenonFamous Players-Lasky/ParamountCo-stars: Antonio Moreno, Wallace Beery, Adolphe Menjou ; (Survives)
1924Shadows of ParisHerbert BrenonFamous Players-Lasky/ParamountCo-stars: Charles de Roche, Adolphe Menjou, George O’Brien; (Lost)
1924MenDimitri BuchowetzkiFamous Players-Lasky/Paramount(Lost)
1924Lily of the DustDimitri BuchowetzkiFamous Players-Lasky/ParamountCo-stars: Ben Lyon, Noah Beery, Raymond Griffith ; (Lost)
1924Forbidden ParadiseErnst LubitschFamous Players-Lasky/ParamountCo-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)
1925East of SuezRaoul WalshFamous Players-Lasky/ParamountCo-stars: Edmund Lowe, Noah Beery
Negri's only film directed by Raoul Walsh; (Lost)
1925The CharmerSidney OlcottFamous Players-Lasky/Paramount(Lost)
1925Flower of the NightPaul BernFamous Players-Lasky/ParamountCo-stars: Warner Oland, Gustav von Seyffertitz; (Lost)
1925A Woman of the WorldMalcolm St. ClairFamous Players-Lasky/ParamountCo-stars: Charles Emmett Mack, Holmes Herbert, Chester Conklin (Survives)
1926The Crown of LiesDimitri BuchowetzkiFamous Players-Lasky/Paramount(Lost)
1926Good and NaughtyMalcolm St. ClairFamous Players-Lasky/Paramountco-stars: Ford Sterling, Miss DuPont (Lost)
1927Hotel ImperialMauritz StillerFamous Players-Lasky/ParamountCo-stars: James Hall, George Siegmann, Max Davidson; (Survives)
1927Barbed WireRowland V. Lee
Mauritz Stiller
ParamountCo-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)
1927The Woman on TrialMauritz StillerParamount(Lost; per silentera.com)
1928The Secret HourRowland V. LeeParamount
1928Three SinnersRowland V. LeeParamountCo-stars: Warner Baxter, Paul Lukas, Olga Baclanova; (Lost)
1928Loves of an ActressLudwig BergerParamountCo-stars: Nils Asther, Paul Lukas
Silent film with soundtrack; (Lost)
1928The Woman From MoscowLudwig BergerParamountCo-stars: Norman Kerry, Paul Lukas, Otto Matiesen
Alternate title: Rachel
Silent film with soundtrack; (Lost)

International Period (Includes German Sound Period)

1929The Woman He ScornedPaul CzinnerCharles Whittaker Productions UK (Distributed By Warners UK)United KingdomCo-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.
1932A Woman CommandsGeorge FitzmauriceRKOUSACo-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.
1934FanatismeTony Lekain, Gaston RavelPathéFranceNegri's only French film; features her singing three songs
1935MazurkaWilli ForstCine-Allianz/Tobis-KlangfilmGermanyCo-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
1936Moskau-ShanghaiPaul WegenerUFAGermanyCo-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..."
1937Madame BovaryGerhard LamprechtUFAGermanyPola Negri's only German sound film to be shown in the United States.
1937Tango NotturnoFritz KirchoffUFAGermanyCo-star: Albrecht Schoenhals
Features the songs "Ich Hab an Dich Gedacht" and "Kommt das Glück nicht Heut? Dann kommt Es Morgen"
1937Die fromme LügeNunzio MalasommaUFAGermanyCo-star: Hermann Braun
1938Die Nacht der EntscheidungNunzio MalasommaUFAGermanyCo-star: Iván Petrovich
Features the songs "Siehst Du die Sterne am Himmel" and "Zeig' der Welt nicht Dein Herz"

Last Films (USA)

1943Hi Diddle DiddleAndrew L. StoneAndrew L. Stone Productions (Distributed by United Artists)Co-stars: Adolphe Menjou, Martha Scott, Billie Burke, Dennis O'Keefe, June Havoc
1964The Moon-SpinnersJames NielsonWalt Disney ProductionsCo-stars: Hayley Mills, Eli Wallach


Pola 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.[44][45]

Matrix No.Single No.LabelSong TitleTime and Place of RecordingNotes
OB-641HMV EK-114His Master's VoiceV chas toski (The Hour of Longing)Small Queen's Hall, London, March 12, 1931.Accompanied by Boris Golovka and two others on guitar, with chorus.
OB-642HMV EK-114His Master's VoiceChto nam gore? (Why Are You Sorry?)samesame
OB-643(Not Released)His Master's VoiceYescho raz (Once again)samesame
OB-647HMV B-3820His Master's VoiceOchy Tchornye (Dark Eyes)Small Queen's Hall, London, March 13, 1931.same
OB-648HMV EK-115His Master's VoiceWhy Fall in Love?samesame
OB-649HMV B-3820His Master's VoiceAdieu (Farewell, My Gypsy Camp)samesame
OB-650HMV EK-114His Master's VoiceDwe gitary (Two Guitars aka "Gypsy, Sing!")samesame; dedicated to Pola Negri by Boris Golovka.
P 76523AP 989UltraphoneMes Nuits sont MortesParis, July 1933.
P 76524AP 989UltraphoneParadisParis, July 1933.French language version of "Paradise"; A-side of single AP 989
P Be 10937-30-4723OdéonJe sans en moiBerlin, April 8, 1935.Song from the film Mazurka (1935); orchestra arr. by Peter Kreuder.
P Be 10938-30-4723OdéonNur eine StundeBerlin, April 8, 1935.Song from the film Mazurka (1935); orchestra arr. by Peter Kreuder.
128338R 2271ParlophoneFor That One HourBerlin, c. early 1936.English language version of "Nur eine Stunde." Original version from the film Mazurka.
128397R 2271ParlophoneStay Close to MeBerlin, c. early 1936.English language version of "Je sans en moi." Original version from the film Mazurka.
P Be 112410-4736OdéonVergiss deine SehnsuchtBerlin, March 17, 1936.Orchestra arranged by W. Schmidt-Boelcke.
P Be 112420-4736OdéonWenn die Sonne hinter den Dach VersinktBerlin, March 17, 1936.Orchestra arranged by W. Schmidt-Boelcke.
P Be 11432-20-4742OdéonMein Herz hat Heimweh...Berlin, September 2, 1936.Song from the film Moskau-Shanghai (1936). Orchestra arranged by Hans-Otto Borgmann.
P Be 114330-4742OdéonIch Mochte Einmal nur mein ganzes Herz VerschwendenBerlin, September 2, 1936.Orchestra arranged by Hans-Otto Borgmann.
P Be 118910-4765OdéonIch hab an Dich GedachtBerlin, December 15, 1937.Song from the film Tango Notturno (1937). Orchestra arranged by Hans-Otto Borgmann.
P Be 118920-4765OdéonKommt das Gluck nicht Heut? Dann kommt es MorgenBerlin, December 15, 1937.Song from the film Tango Notturno (1937). Orchestra arranged by Hans-Otto Borgmann.
P Be 121710 288233OdéonZeig der Welt nicht dein HerzBerlin, December 30, 1938.Song from the film Die Nacht der Entscheidung (1938). Orchestra arranged by Lothar Bruhne.
P Be 121720 288233OdéonSiehst du die SterneBerlin, December 30, 1938.Song from the film Die Nacht der Entscheidung (1938). Orchestra arranged by Lothar Bruhne.


  1. ^ a b Votruba, Martin. "Pola Negri". Slovak Studies Program. University of Pittsburgh. http://www.pitt.edu/~votruba/qsonhist/celebrities/negrip.html. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  2. ^ Negri, Pola. Memoirs of a Star. New York: Doubleday, 1970, p. 16.
  3. ^ Łanucha, Jan. "Od Apolonii do Poli zwanej Politą". Forum Polonijne 3 (2007): 23. ISSN 1234-2807. 
  4. ^ Negri, Memoirs of a Star, p. 22.
  5. ^ Bock, Hans-Michael: The Concise Cinegraph: encyclopaedia of German cinema. New York, Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2009, p. 338.
  6. ^ Negri, Memoirs of a Star, p. 87-90.
  7. ^ Beinhorn, Courtenay Wyche. The Film Career of Pola Negri 1914-1964. Master's thesis, University of Texas at Austin, January 1975, p.8.
  8. ^ 1978 interview with Pola Negri, Polanegri.com.
  9. ^ Biskupski, M.B.B. (2010) Hollywood's War With Poland 1939–1945 University Press of Kentucky ISBN 978-0-8131-2559-6 Page 12
  10. ^ Taylor, Angela. "Pola Negri's Memoirs: Best Roles Were Played In Real Life." The New York Times, April 24, 1970, p. 30.
  11. ^ Kobal, John. The Art of the Great Hollywood Portrait Photographers, 1925-1940. London: Michael Joseph, 1988.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Chaplin, Charles. My Autobiography. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1964, p. 300.
  14. ^ Hotel Imperial on DVD, Polanegri.com
  15. ^ Negri, Memoirs of a Star, p. 318-9.
  16. ^ Negri, Pola. La Vie et Le Rêve au Cinéma. Paris: Albin Michel, Éditeur, 1928.
  17. ^ "Pola Negri To Screen Shaw's 'Cleopatra'." New York Times, December 1, 1928, p. 14.
  18. ^ "Pola Negri Collapses." New York Times, November 13, 1933, p. 21.
  19. ^ "Pola Negri Left Behind." New York Times, November 14, 1933, p. 22.
  20. ^ Billboard, January 29, 1944, p. 22.
  21. ^ Negri, Memoirs of a Star, p. 405.
  22. ^ Jan F. Lewandowski, Pola Negri w Sosnowcu. Katowice: Wydawnictwo Gnome, 2002.
  23. ^ Bodeen, DeWitt, and Gene Ringgold. "Pola Negri." Screen Facts #15, Vol. 3 No. 3, published 1967, p. 14.
  24. ^ Ben Lyon interviewed in Hollywood: Swanson and Valentino. Directed By Kevin Brownlow. Themes Television, 1980.
  25. ^ "Pola Negri Divorce Granted in Paris." The New York Times, April 3, 1931, p. 35.
  26. ^ Lanza, Joseph and Dennis Penna. Russ Columbo and the Crooner Mystique. Port Townsend, WA: Feral House, 2002. p. 247.
  27. ^ Gonzales, Br. Alexis, and Joseph Dispenza. "The Imperial Pola Negri." The Sunday Express-News, March 29, 1970, p. 15.
  28. ^ Negri, Pola, Memoirs of a Star, plate 52.
  29. ^ a b Pola Negri FAQ, Polanegri.com.
  30. ^ Gonzales and Dispenza, p. 2.
  31. ^ Pola Negri, Famous Silent Film Star, Will Make Guest Appearance At Museum. Press Release, Museum of Modern Art, 1970. Accessed 1-25-2011.
  32. ^ Greg Barrios, "Negri Called S.A. Home." The Sunday Express-News (San Antonio), August 2, 1987, p. 4-A.
  33. ^ San Antonio Light, August 9, 1987, p. J-11, J-14.
  34. ^ The Sunday Expresss-News, August 2, 1987, p. 4-A.
  35. ^ Los Angeles Times, August 3, 1987, p. 3, 13.
  36. ^ New York Times, August 3, 1987, p. D-11.
  37. ^ Greg Barrios, "Femme Fatale Silent Film Star Pola Negri Succumbs in Texas." Variety, August 5, 1987, p. 4, 27.
  38. ^ Long, Christopher. Chalupec, Barbara Apollonia. Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed January 25, 2011.
  39. ^ Polish Cultural Institute.com
  40. ^ "Polish Film Festivals." Polish Music News, April 2006, Vol. 12, No. 4. ISSN 1098-9188. Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California.
  41. ^ Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema page, Polanegri.com.
  42. ^ Pola Negri: new biog salutes Polish star. Polski Radio, February 25, 2011. Accessed March 2, 2011.
  43. ^ News Page at POLANEGRI.COM. Updated October 22, 2011.
  44. ^ Rust, Brian A., and Allen G. Debus. The complete entertainment discography, from the mid-1890s to 1942. Arlington House, 1973, p. 499.
  45. ^ Unknown author, liner notes of Pola Negri and Rudolph Valentino CD. Chansophone [France], 1995, p. 2-3.

Additional references and Bibliography

External links