Mauritz Stiller

Sc.: Jules Furthman. F.: Bert Glennon. In.: Pola Negri (Anna Sedlak), James Hall (Paul Almasy), George Siegmann (Generale Juschkiewitsch), Max Davidson (Elias Buttermann), Michael Vavitch (Tabakowitsch), Otto Fries (Anton Klinak), Nicholas Soussanin (Barone Fredrikson), Golden Wadhams (Maggiore Generale Sultanov). P.: Famous Players-Lasky. 35mm. L.: 2139m. D.: 88’ a 22 f/s. Bn

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Pola Negri, alias Apolonia Chalupec – her name in art seems to have been inspired by the poet Ada Negri – was born in Lipno, Poland on January 3rd, 1894. She debuted at the age of nineteen on the stages of Warsaw, and in 1914 she acted in a film that opened the doors for her to the growing Polish cinema. When Warsaw was occupied by German troops in 1916, Max Reinhardt saw her at the theater in Sumurum and offered to take her with him to Germany to act in the same work under his direction. This occurred, but after a few performances she opted out for an attractive offer from Ufa which, after a couple of small films, handed her over to Ernst Lubitsch. Film after film, the director would turn Negri into the most sensational star of that time. Her films were met with outstanding success, and obviously a contract arrived from Hollywood as well, where she established herself peremptorily. This can be seen in her exuberant private life as well. Her three husbands consisted of two counts and one prince, she had animated flirts with Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino, and a furious rivalry with the other prima donna at Paramount, Gloria Swanson. Once the wild Twenties were over, Negri’s star status began to wane. She returned to Germany where she acted in several films, including Mazurka (1935), an excellent melodrama directed by Willi Forst, and Madame Bovary (1937) by Gerhard Lamprecht. On her return to the United States she was accused of sympathizing with the Nazis and succeeded in obtaining an entrance visa only after long negotiations. She died in San Antonio in 1987, after having, among other things, written an unexpected but delightful book of memoirs.  

Vittorio Martinelli

Right now in Berlin, the Gloria-Palast is showing one of the best American films in recent years, one of the best for its screenplay, technical level and acting: Hotel Imperial. Biro who is Hungarian wrote the screenplay, Stiller from Sweden directed the film, the leading actress is Pola Negri, who became famous in Berlin, and the organization rests in the hands of Erich Pommer from Germany. The story is European, the faces shown are European – it is so authentic that it will deeply move every person who, in those times, was left with the events that are told in the film emblazoned in their hearts and minds. (…) And we must reflect on this, ask ourselves: how is it possible that the same people who were capable of making this film, weren’t capable of doing the same here? Is the air perhaps different over there, must one perhaps believe in the miraculous power of the California sun? Or is a simpler explanation sufficient, an explanation that comes from and follows logic, or rather, that over there a different point of view on men and on their stories obviously exists? (…) It is the producers who are wrong – and who else would it be? On this side of the ocean their outlook results as much less acute compared to those on the other side.

Eugen Szatamári, “Der klare und der getrübte Blick”, Illustrierte Film-Zeitung, n. 2, April 13, 1927

Copy From

Acetate print made in 1968 by Paramount, from their new dupe negative