Archive for Pola Negri


Posted in FILM, MUSIC with tags , , , , , on March 22, 2016 by dcairns


A fresh chiseling over at The Chiseler, this one inspired by my viewing of the early Pola Negri melodrama MANIA at the Bo’ness Hippodrome. You can devour it with your hungry eyes here. Please do!

While you’re reading, you can actually play a piece of the music we enjoyed at the screening, thanks to YouTube and Czerwie, the band responsible. Multimedia!

A Stately Hippodrome

Posted in FILM with tags , , on March 19, 2016 by dcairns

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Big head of Pola

My visits to the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema seem jinxed this year! On Wednesday I missed EARTH, which I wrote the programme notes for, Thursday my train was cancelled and I made it to the venue with seconds to spare (only thanks to meeting a Lithuanian who knew a shortcut) and on Sunday I’ll miss one show due to being in the edit for my film, which at least is a fairly positive, noble-sounding excuse. So I hope nothing goes wrong today — planning to see four shows. Wish me luck.

There will be a piece at The Chiseler very soon about the one film I’ve so far managed to see…

While waiting endlessly for a bus to take me from Linlithgow to Bo’ness on Thursday, I photographed Mary Queen of Scots standing in the grounds of Linlithgow Castle at magic hour. So that was good.


The Dia de los Muertos Intertitle

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on November 1, 2015 by dcairns


EYES OF THE MUMMY (1922) is a film in many ways a disappointment — we have Lubitsch, we have Emil Jannings, and we have Pola Negri, but we don’t have a great film. In his Lubitsch biography, Laughter in Paradise, Scott Eyman focuses harshly on a single moment when Jannings has considerable difficulties with his horse, wondering why on earth the shot wasn’t retaken or just excised. The conclusion is that Lubitsch didn’t care, that he lost heart at some point during this film.

The prospect of a Lubitsch horror movie is enticing, but this isn’t really it — the one uncanny image, the titular mummy eyes, is quickly revealed as a Scooby Doo plot to hoodwink gullible tourists. From then on, Jannings’ menacing blackface Arab is the only dramatic threat, and he’s of a wholly corporeal nature.

I did get a brief frisson when I first watched this, when the image below appeared ~


Whoops, now it’s the image above. The pic appears in Denis Gifford’s Pictorial History of Horror Movies, and I realized I’d just inadvertently checked off a movie from my quest to see every film depicted therein, a quest I have called See Reptilicus and Die (a quest that has been more or less moribund lately as the few films left available to me are so very, very unappealing).

As lacklustre as the film is, it doesn’t deserve Alpha Video’s shoddy rendition, which replaces the German intertitles with cheesily-designed and semi-literate English ones. As the film goes on, these become fewer, as if the Alpha Video titling department (I’m picturing an intern with photoshop) had lost its enthusiasm even more markedly than Herr Lubitsch. By the end, you pretty much have to guess what’s going on, which does add a bit of entertainment value.


Hey, Alpha Video, what the heck is a sejour?

Aaaand… the whole thing’s on YouTube.


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