Sc.: Clara Beranger, da Brothers di Elmer Harrys. F.: David Abel. Scgf.: Wilfred Buckland, Mitchell Leisen. Cost.: Adrian. Ass.R.: Curt Reheld. In.: Jetta Goudal (Zita Gautier), Ivan Lebedeff (lo sceicco), Leonid Snegoff (il sultano), Josephine Norman (la domestica di Zita), Victor Varconi (colonnello Pierre Gautier), Joseph Schildkraut (Jean Lacoste), Catherine Dale Owen. P.: DeMille Pictures. Supervisione:William de Mille. 35mm. L.O.: 2022 m. L.: 1318 m. D.: 59′ a 20 f/s. Copia imbibita con il metodo Desmet / tinted print with Desmet method
Paul Ludwig Stein did not have a particularly good reputation. Lilian Gish never forgave him for ruining her entrance into the world of the talkies. His career in Germany and England had fallen into oblivion. Nevertheless, viewing of this version of Forbidden Woman makes you wish to know something more. Born in Vienna in 1892, he was first billed as an actor, and then as director, by Max Reinhardt. Lubitsch gave him his film debut. After the war he left for the States to seek his fortune as an actor. When he returned to Germany he founded his own production company. He made a number of films with Harry Liedtke as protagonist, and Das Martyrium with Pola Negri. He then returned to Hollywood. After a film for Warner (My Official Wife), he was taken under contract by Cecil B. de Mille for whom he made Forbidden Woman and Man-Made Woman. When de Mille left producing, Stein shot one more silent and two talkies in the States. He then moved to England where he continued to make seemingly unimportant films until 1951, the year of his death. Forbidden Woman is very clearly a small production that relied largely on its three main actors, from de Mille’s roster. The lack of means employed to make the film is very evident in some scenes (the ambush, the arrival of the survivors at the fort), even in the version we have. It doesn’t seem though that Stein made any great effort to hide it. On the contrary, from what we can tell, the action scenes don’t interest him. He instead shows surprising virtuosity in the psychological scenes: he likes exploring even the slightest twists, sometimes complicating them with hesitations that give the scene greater depth. His editing is so tight that an ambiguous attitude is suggested by simply introducing a shot that breaks the expected course of events.
Jean-Marie Buchet, Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique