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Lost Pola Negri Film Found

Pola Negri

The News/Polskie Radio reports that an early (and thus far unnamed) Pola Negri vehicle has been discovered at Rome's Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia by the husband-and-wife team of Marek and Malgorzata Hendrykowski from Poznan University. Dating from the 1910s, the Polish production is a detective story set in Warsaw. The print has Italian subtitles and is said to be in good condition.

Born (Barbara) Apolonia Chalupiec in 1894 in Lipno, central Poland, Pola Negri began her show business career dancing with the Imperial Ballet in Warsaw, later enrolling in Poland's Academy of Dramatic Arts. Following her stage debut in 1913, Negri rapidly ascended to the top of her profession, and by the late 1910s she had become a film star in German productions as well. Among those were several directed by Ernst Lubitsch, including worldwide blockbusters Carmen / Gypsy Blood (1918) and Madame DuBarry / Passion (1919).

Pola NegriParamount beckoned in the early 1920s, and even though Negri remained a star in her Hollywood films – her publicity-driven rivalry with fellow Paramountie Gloria Swanson was legendary – she never quite achieved the superstardom that had been hers in Germany.

After the coming of sound, Negri moved back to Germany where she became a major star once again – Mazurka (1935) is her best-known film of that period – but her career came to a halt in 1938. She returned to the US following the advent of World War II, where she remained until her death at the age of 93, in 1987.

In addition to much-publicized affairs with Charles Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino (with whom in reality she may have had a mere passing acquaintance, if that much), Negri was married to Prince Serge Mdivani in the late 1920s (the prince reportedly helped to squander her fortune) and allegedly was Adolf Hitler's favorite actress. Her last companion was Texan heiress Margaret West, with whom she lived in San Antonio.

Negri's last screen appearance, in the Disney production The Moon-Spinners (1964), showed that getting older doesn't necessarily mean getting any less flamboyant.

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6 Comments to Lost Pola Negri Film Found

  1. debbie

    Umm, Pola Negri had much much more than as this article puts “a mere passing acquaintance” with Mr. Valentino. Umm, i don't understand why this article plays down their much written about romantic and sexual affair. Very strange.

  2. Dave

    What's up with the discovered Pola film — I haven't heard any more about it. Does anyone even know the title?

  3. Tony Villecco

    This is so incredible: When might the public get a chance to see this? I am writing a bio on Negri: This gives me hope more silent films may hopefully exists somewhere. Where was this discovered? In a vault? Museum?

  4. seneca

    I wish they would lose a number of films made today. They could start with the Apatow comedies.

  5. titta

    I wish they would find some lost Theda Bara film. Cleopatra, for instance. Now, THAT is something I'd love to see!

  6. Marcus Tucker

    Any lost film found is worth taking a look at. It makes me truly sad that in the 20th century so many people didn't realize how important those early years of film really were.