S.: Jules Furthman, Rowland V. Lee, dal romanzo The Woman of Knockaloe di Hall Caine. Sc.: J, Furthman. F.: Bert Glennon. In.: Pola Negri (Mona Moreau), Clive Brook (Oskar Muller), Einar Hanson (Pierre, fratello di Mona), Claude Gillingwater (Jean Moreau, padre di Mona), Gustav von Seyffertitz (il vicino), Charles Lane (colonnello Duval), Clyde Brook (Hans), Ben Hendricks, Jr. (sergente Caron). P.: Erich Pommer per Paramount Famous Lasky Corp, in associazione con B.P. Schulberg.. 35mm. L.O.: 2279 m. L.: 1838 m. D.: 81’ a 20 f/s. Bn.
After the success of Hotel Imperial, Pommer began working on an adaptation of Englishman Hall Caine’s novel, using the same director (Stiller) and the same star (Pola Negri). Then Stiller fell ill. His job was taken over by Rowland V. Lee, fresh on board at Paramount. Pola Negri had a reputation for being vagarious, but she had excellent feeling with Stiller, with whom she could speak in Russian. She had also just lost her lover, Rudolph Valentino. Lee however managed to enter quickly into good graces with the star. They made four films together. The story, which was set on the Isle of Man in the novel, was moved to a Norman village. The only reason for that was probably so the audience wouldn’t be distracted from the main plot, because the image of France presented by the film is not different from what we find in other American films, though both the producer and the director were personally acquainted with the country. The pacifist message in Barbed Wire does not stop the film from being completely focused on the figure of Mona. The war is nothing but a pretext to place her in conflictual situations, and it’s only shown in a brief secondary scene. It remains in the background for the rest of the film. In her memoirs, Negri touches upon her mental state at the time of shooting, with a sense of self-satisfaction that brings a smile to your lips. Upon seeing the film you can imagine how the actress took advantage of the director. Rowland Lee was effectively at her service. The direction is completely devoted to her.
Jean-Marie Buchet, Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique