An actress from the past with a History of Mystery...Pola Negri
Pola Negri a silent film star...I'm writing about her because I have an old photograph with her and my dad (see below) on a movie set of the Wildcat "Die Bergkatze" (the mountain cat/lion)
My dad knew Pola and did some promotional photographs of her, traveling even to Hungary to photograph her. Dad lived and had studios in Berlin, Dresden and in Garmisch, these are the places he would see her, and that's were the story of the photo connection came in.
If I had known she was still alive and living in obscurity in San Antonio, Texas I would have tried contacting her...I feel sad about that.
When I got my first computer around 2000, I looked up Pola Negri, unfortunately there was not much written about her then...the only thing I found about her were the European Movie Cards with credits of her movies.
When I was working on "My life story in a suitcase" lens, I looked her up again to find credit to the photo I was displaying, and to my surprise I found a great deal about her. One website in particular that had me excited was The Pola Negri Appreciation Site this is where I actually found the name of the film she was in, recognizing the costume, I knew immediately.
I'm exited to have received a copy of this movie, courtesy David Gasten...Thank You!
Image from: things-and-other-stuff.com
My Dad on the movie set with - Pola Negri
I have had this photograph for years...my dad (Baron Alexander von Meyer) standing with his hands in his pockets on the far left.
As I mentioned before, I always wondered what movie this was, mom thought the photo was done in Hungary...after learning the name and history of the movie Die Bergkatze I found out more facts. I learned these scenes were actually shot in Garmisch, Bavaria...the town we lived in after the war and before coming to America. I'm sure this was when dad visited his friend Hans Stuck in Garmisch before he got married.
Photo from the Movie Bergkatze/Wildcat - as mentioned above
(Photo courtesy Kino International and David Gasten
Another photo of Wildcat scene
(photo credit Kino Video and David Gasten)
Great Stuff about Pola Negri - Books in particular
Even on Amazon you can find awesome things about Pola Negri. That is so great because a long time ago you could not easily find info on her.
In a Movie Star magazine
Motion Picture Poster of - Pola Negri
Who is Pola Negri?
she was a Polish born actress..
A young star that began in the silent movie era, born with the name Barbara Apolonia, this according to her birth records and information written about her in the past. Pola was born in Lipno Poland Jan 3, 1897, into a poor working family, moving in 1902 to Warsaw where Pola trained as a Ballet student.
At that time she contracted TB and her dancing ceased. She then moved to Berlin, Germany in 1917 and became involved in the movie industry, appearing in several films. She became a successful movie actress and caught the eye of Hollywood, where she then move to.
However when the sound movies became popular, her voice was not suited because of her heavy accent...disenchanted she left Hollywood
During the 1920s her a reputation of having had affairs with notable movie actors became public. Such film actors as Charlie Chaplin and the famed Rudolph Valentino. After Valentino's death she caused a scandal with her announcement that she was to have been married to him, but to her chagrin there where others disclaiming this..
Her fame escalated her into wealth and notably one of the riches actresses of that time. Her famed home was modeled after the White House.
Negri had been married a couple of times, one being Eugeniusz Dbski who she divorced, and then to Serge Mdivani who she was divorced from as well..
The 1929 crash took most of her fortune and she returned to Europe. Her controversial stance in 1930 of movies made by Germany of anti-Polish subjects, she gave into only making a few more movies.
In 1935 her movie Mazurka became Adolf Hitler's favorite movie, bringing about a rumor that she had an affair with Hitler...this was disproved, and even suing the magazine that issued the statement.
1938 she fled Germany from the Nazi's having been labeled as part Jewish. Her next step was to move to France, then to Portugal and subsequently to New York.
She made several more movies until her popularity waned. She became an American citizen in 1951 and lived her life out in San Antonio Texas till her death in August 1, 1987.
Pola Negri may not be a household name today, but at one time Ms. Negri was one of the darlings of the film industry coming to America in September 1922 after becoming a popular film and stage actress in Europe. She was considered a member of the foreign legion who were actors that moved abroad to be in American pictures. Her first American contract was signed to Famous Players, a Hollywood studio which later became Paramount. Courted and solicited by directors and producers during the silent film era which emerged through the Roaring Twenties, Ms. Negri continued to be in demand through the 1930's when film first came with voice called Talkies then. She was a part of the early stages of the film industry and her autobiography, "Memoirs of a Star" chronicles her journey from the slums of Warsaw, Poland to the palatial estates of Beverly Hills to a king-size chateau in the south of France, all abodes that were once homes to Pola Negri
When I lived in California I found this photo in a Movie Star magazine Movie Mirror, saving it because this was the only time I had ever seen her name since I knew of her. This issue had to have been in the early 1970s as she did not pass till 1987.
It states in the article: One of the Golden Era of Motion Pictures' greatest female stars is critically ill and doctors fear it may be impossible to save her. Which now explains why she didn't do the Broadway play.
Painting by Tade Styka
When I was researching for images on Pola Negri, I came across this beautiful painting by Tade Styka. The shear beauty of this image is breathtaking...as an artist I truly admired his style.
Movie in German "Wildcat"
The Cheat - Lobby Card - This card can be yours at Live Auctioneers.com
Hotel Imperial - movie poster by artist Batiste Madalena
Batiste Madalena (American, born Italy, 1902 - 1988) hand painted this for the film Hotel Imperial in 1927..
It was on exhibition at MoMA in 2009...
The Ladies of the German Cinema DVD features the rare Pola Negri silent Sappho (1921). David Gasten, webmaster of Polanegri.com, was closely involved with the DVD's production, and it broke a sales record for best initial sales of any DVD released by Grapevine Video.
Have you ever heard of Pola Negri? - will you remember her now?
I love watching old movies, anything before 1950. Maybe you know some of these silent film stars..
I'm happy to share this tidbit about Pola Negri and the Links that are associated...check them out!
Let me know...have you ever heard of Pola Negri the Vamp?
Really good Links pertaining to Pola Negri
- Pola Pola Pola! The Pola Negri Appreciation Site
Pola Pola Pola! The Pola Negri Appreciation Site
- Silent DVD: Lubitsch in Berlin and American Slapstick
Complete coverage of Silent Films released on DVD
- Â© Pola Negri - Silent Movie Star - goldensilents.com
Golden SilentsÂ Film ClipsÂ BoardPola Negri (1894-1987) "I don't care whether they love me or not. I don't care whether I am beautiful or not. I want a chance to act."
- Pola Negri Magazine Covers - Pola Negri Magazines - Pictures 1 - 15 of 17 Images
Magazine Covers featuring Pola Negri - Great link!!!!
The POLA NEGRI Appreciation Site
This website is the most authorative website on information regarding Pola Negri...check it out!
The Pola Negri Appreciation Site
author David Gasten