Big Head of Pola


In the fascinating and highly amusing Put Money in Thy Purse, Michael Mac Liammoir’s memoir* of the making of Orson Welles’ OTHELLO, we hear of some silent-era European émigré director whose English wasn’t too hot, shooting a Pola Negri romance, saying he wanted a “big head of Pola,” meaning a close-up. Welles’ cast and crew liked the expression so much they adopted it, so all through the book, Mac Liammoir writes of each day’s filming, “Big head of Pola of me today,” etc.

HOWEVER! The big head of Pola above is not Pola Negri but Pola Illéry, a Romanian actress in France best known (until now!) for her leading role in Rene Clair’s UNDER THE ROOFTOPS OF PARIS (available from the good people at Criterion) but currently under discussion over at the Auteurs’ Notebook, in my regular Thursday piece, where you can find out what Charles Boyer was doing here on Sunday.

*I can’t get over the fact I just typed “Mac Liammoir’s memoir.”

6 Responses to “Big Head of Pola”

  1. So apparently she is still alive. That is big news in itself.

  2. *That* I did not know. I guess she was pretty young back then. That’s a very select group she’s in —

  3. Christopher Says:

    nice Big Head ! ;o)

  4. Tom Farrell Says:

    Luise Rainer is 99 years old going for 100.

  5. She was quite lovely in her day, this Romanian Pola.

  6. A striking face! Cavalcanti more or less hands her the climax of the film.

    Rainer appears to have just made a new film — a documentary about La Dolce Vita, which Fellini cast her in then cut her out of. She sort of inspired the diva actress character in Eight and a Half, his next movie.

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