THE SILENT TREATMENT: Pola Negri in "Barbed Wire" (1927)

“It isn’t really a war picture at all. It’s a peace picture. It holds out the hope that, in time, we may forget all about war and war pictures and just have a good time, which will throw that kettle-drummer out of a job, but otherwise will be all for the best.” — Screenland

Many of the sirens that silent cinema has to offer have graced the Cinefamily screen with a delicate, angelic charm — but tonight’s star slayed her suitors with unforgettably dark features and tantalizing villainy. It’s no wonder that Pola Negri was the reigning silent queen of femme fatales — her affairs with Chaplin and Valentino ensured that, both onscreen and off, her tumultuous love life commanded the sort of attention only a brilliantly scandalous vamp could elicit. The sparks fly when tonight’s emotional spectacular brings together Negri (playing against type) as a quiet French farm girl, and Clive Brook as an encamped German POW, in a forbidden-love, through-the-fence romance. Music by Cinefamily resident accompanist Cliff Retallick!
Dir. Rowland V. Lee, 1927, 16mm, 79 min. (Archival 16mm print courtesy of the George Eastman House)