1927 – Pola Negri Article

A palatable dish with all the ingredients of good drama, well served,
constitutes the piece de resistance at present on the Metropolitan menu. In
fact it is hardly possible that Pola Negri of “The Woman on Trial” would not
whet the jaded appetite of the most sophisticated of the devotees of the
silver screen. And jaded indeed does the appetite of the average spectator at
the average motion picture become; picture succeeds picture, plot follows plot
with an abysmal shallowness of invention, and a dispiriting similarity of
spirit. It almost seems as if the chief advance of the art were in the
decoration of the theatre, rather than the quality of the picture. “The Woman
on Trial” differs very little in plot and invention from innumerable other
pictures the reviewer could enumerate if he had a memory for names. Enough,
that it plays in Paris with scenes from the Place de la Concorde and the Latin
Quarter. It seems unnecessary to examine the plot further. In spirit, to use
that nebulous word, it differs, however, from the other fruit on the family
tree. That new spirit is due without any doubt to the presence of Pola Negri.
She is not pretty the bathing beauty sense, yet it is perhaps her face which
gives the tone to the whole picture. There is in it a look of passion and
tragedy without which “The Woman on Trial” might be interchanged with any
other similar picture and no one would care much, even if he noticed the
difference,. But there is a difference, and it is just the difference between
the good and the poor. As for the rest of the Metropolitan’s “Greater Entertainment,” the divertissement, so to speak, it remains rather hazily in the mind; in fact it succeeded excellently in diverting the attention from what was taking place on the stage. There guesses what it was.

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