This short story was inspired by an old photograph of Pola Negri who was a silent film star in Europe. This photo was taken with my father on a film set, as he was photographing her for the movie ads. He got to know her and had a collection of photos, but unfortunately all but this photo was lost to the war.
My Father on the movie set with - Pola Negri
For years I have had this photograph. View on set of a movie.
My father the Baron ~ Alexander von Meyer standing with his hands in his pockets on the far left.
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. Pola had moved to Berlin in 1917 and most likely knew my father through his Berlin photography studio.
So having this photo scene shot in the Bavarian town Garmisch made sense, because this town was were his best friend lived and was familiar with the town and area. After the war we moved to Garmisch, this before coming to America.
The Movie Bergkatze/Wildcat -
Movie in German "Wildcat"
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.
Movie Mirror magazine
Article from the Movie Mirror magazine
In California I found this photo featured in the Movie Star magazine Movie Mirror. I saved it because this was the only time I had ever seen her name since I knew of her. This issue had to have been early 1970 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.
An informative book about Pola Negri
Motion Picture magazine - the Mystery of Pola Negri
Painting by Tade Styka
I came across this beautiful painting of Pola by Tade Styka The shear beauty of this image is breathtaking...as an artist I truly admired his style.
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?
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!!!!
© 2010 Delia
A fan of Silent Film Stars or just old Movie Stars in general? - share with me your thoughts
Delia (author) on October 10, 2016:
Hello Marvyn, If you go back to that painting, you'll find underneath I mentioned the artist's name... click Tade Styka it will take you to his website and there he sells the poster (it's in Poland) Thanks for the visit here...
Marvyn Fitzpatrick on October 03, 2016:
Where can I obtain a print of the Pola Negri portrait done by Tade Styke?
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on March 10, 2015:
Pola Negri is someone I only knew from your hub but I like what you have written of her. You are so lucky to have that personal connection to persons in history. Such a wealth of information.
MarcellaCarlton on June 16, 2014:
Yes, and I've heard of all the other stars mentioned, too! I'm older than dirt and I couldn't care less. This was a very interesting lens.
tonyleather on January 14, 2014:
What a fascinating lens about a very interesting woman! Thanks!
Denise McGill from Fresno CA on November 10, 2013:
Della, I never heard of Pola before. Funny thing is I am like you and love the old movies, silent movies. I have several of Charlie Chaplin's movies and a number of Bette Davis too. Now I will be on the look-out for Pola Negri. Thanks for all the great info. The video clips were great too.
BlogsWriter on January 22, 2013:
I love Pola Negri in the vintage posters, she looks lovely and has the charms that can captivate anybody.
Deborah Swain from Rome, Italy on January 10, 2013:
I often find Pola Negri vintage postcards in on market stalls here in Italy...now I know who she is!
anonymous on November 28, 2012:
Yes, I'm a big fan of silent movies and was aware of her. Love the painting by Tade Styka!
CoeGurl on September 23, 2012:
Well done and an interesting read. It's fascinating that your dad knew Pola Negri! I've added this lens to my "Pickfair" related lenses.
Rosaquid on September 23, 2012:
Congratulations on your well-earned Purple Star!
Mami Design on September 22, 2012:
Amazing lens! :)
Rosaquid on September 21, 2012:
This is a beautiful lens. Thanks for sharing your dad and Pola Negri with us.
Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on July 02, 2012:
Sometimes I am feeling old like dirt too, but this dirt is noble... Pola Negri is my hero!
Risteard O'Marcahain from Wales on February 19, 2012:
Wonderful - Maybe see you at the Campfire lens sometime
happynutritionist on February 15, 2012:
Joining other angels in *blessing* this one, couldn't resist, what a fascinating story, and the pictures are all so beautiful. Your artistic eye comes through in your pages.
goo2eyes lm on February 06, 2012:
squidangel *blessings* in memory of pola negri.
kathysart on January 20, 2012:
Love the old stars! Soo much glam and gorgeous clothes. Angel blessed lens.
anonymous on January 17, 2012:
I see my blessing has worn off here, I enjoyed another visit and especially that picture of Pola with your Dad once again....spreading fresh angel dust as I go.....
jeremykim2011 on January 16, 2012:
Thank you for enriching my knowledge about her.
goo2eyes lm on December 13, 2011:
i am familiar with lilian gish, mary pickford and of course, pola negri.
WeirdStuff on November 29, 2011:
I Love her signing Tango Noturno!
EMangl on November 15, 2011:
my grandmother was a big fan, that's why i knew a few things about her already
KimGiancaterino on September 28, 2011:
I've heard of Pola Negri, but did not know much about her. What a wonderful job you've done showcasing her career here. My husband and I watched a silent movie on AMC a few nights ago. You really have to pay attention -- and it was nearly 90 minutes long!
laki2lav on July 23, 2011:
such a cool lens. it's really nice to see history. most kids don't even know anything about silent film and how far it all goes.
anonymous on July 20, 2011:
You have taken care of all these old historical photos and the memories which is amazing.
viscri8 on June 17, 2011:
I like Pola Negri too!
sushilkin lm on June 05, 2011:
Thanks for sharing about Pola Negri and the Links! Nice Lens
Delia (author) on May 11, 2011:
@Redneck Lady Luck: Yes, I was born a Baroness, but don't use the title anymore, it means nothing in this country...I talk about this on my Family Crest lens
Lorelei Cohen from Canada on May 10, 2011:
Wow you lead the most fascinating life. And if your dad is a Baron - does this mean that you are a Baroness?
Confetta Ras on April 12, 2011:
jvsper63 on March 26, 2011:
I think you did a great job giving tribute to Pola Negri. I think the lens looks great and you have such good content. Very well done in my opinion..
howtocurecancer on March 22, 2011:
A mysterious woman.
anonymous on March 20, 2011:
Hello, I am a personal friend of MaxReily. Today I read your comments on her lens about Valentino and decided to check out your lens about Pola Negri. What wonderful information you supplied! I think it is thrilling that there is someone still around with such a close connection to this silent film star. I really enjoyed the recording of her singing that you put on your lens and the two photographs of her in later years -- very rare!
Landon W. Holly
Delia (author) on March 16, 2011:
@anonymous: I did not know that she was in the Moonspinners...I will have to check it out again...Thanks for the tidbit and visiting my lens! I was impressed with your Purple Star lens on Valentino.
anonymous on March 16, 2011:
Beautiful lens! I first heard of Pola Negri in the early 90s when doing research on Valentino. You've done a wonderful job with this lens! Of course, I knew all of the silent film actresses in the poll, so I guess I'm older than dirt, too! (Or just a huge fan of silent movies) Did you know that Pola appeared in a Walt Disney movie in her older years? The Moonspinners--I watched it as a teenager, never having heard of Pola Negri, but after I knew who she was, decades later, I got it and watched it again. I think it may have been her last film.Thanks for your kind words and the lensroll on my Valentino lens.
julieannbrady on December 12, 2010:
Ah, I do remember this talented film star -- thanks for putting the spotlight on HER, my dear!
WeirdStuff on November 21, 2010:
Thanks for reminding. It's difficult to stumple upon her movies today
anonymous on November 06, 2010:
I appreciate Your work. Very nice and excellent site about Pola Negri. I couldn't find photos of the older Pola Negri until I got I in Your site.
TedStrutz on October 17, 2010:
Thanks for the Pola Negri tutorial! Your love is showing... and it's a wonderful thing. So nice to read a personal connection and recollection. Love the Hotel Imperial poster. I'm going to have to look for your 'suitcase'...
Confetta Ras on October 17, 2010:
POLA NEGRI ROOLES!
SO DOES THIS LENS!!
5 STARS and KUDOS GALORE!
Tonie Cook from USA on October 04, 2010:
This is a beautiful tribute to a silent star. The silent films are some of my favorites, and the list of actresses mentioned above are names I recognize. (I guess that makes me older than dirt, too.)
anonymous on October 02, 2010:
I remember all of the actresses above. This is a perfect example of how fleeting fame is. I am a fan of movies, silent, talkies, up to the 1960s. Today I am surprised that people know so little about this that and the other, and yet everyone wants to be famous, not an actor, doctor, writer, just famous. I will lensroll this to my Lux Radio Theater Lens. Thank you for this lens.
Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on September 24, 2010:
Great lens on one of the great stars of the Silent Screen. You have so many great stories to tell of your younger days and those of your family.