I’m surprised that I haven’t discussed this film. It’s one of the greatest silents…and cinematic depictions of history I’ve ever seen. I like the uncensored version better…and the updated one with better quality and new music score. It’s hypnotizing for a virginal film viewer. At the beginning there is a triumphant tone…but then it has some despair….Then it gets all casual when Jeanne is making fun of her boss with all her girlfriends….before she corrupted her life with numerous love affairs. Oh dear.
Another astounding thing about this film: Pola Negri. Her acting is outstanding! She excels in demonstrating the true meaning of drama and sassiness! She goes with this lad, then with this other lad, then with the king…and that fatally costs her throat. Though Emil Jannings, the one who played the king, was a bit moody….Lubitsch did it again. His collaborations with Pola are simply the best! The part that gets to me is the ending. I had to replay it many times to stop getting chills. When they decapitate Jeanne, you could see this guy holding her head like a prize as he then throws it to the crowd like a wedding bouquet of flowers. This was one of the reasons the film was heavily censored in America. By Christ, they show her severed head at the end!! Of course, it was also not right, to Americans, to show how the king would insert a petition into Jeanne’s bosom. That was too naughty, for them, of course.
This was where Valentino first saw Negri. He was so enchanted by her performance that he sent her a fan letter. By that time, he wasn’t a huge star then…and when she received the letter, she didn’t take him at all seriously.
This film is so incredibly fantastic! Pola once again is luxurious as hell…with her devoted servants and jewels…but sometimes fortuity must turn to tragedy, in her situation, I mean, she was a bit of a….slut.
I also stumbled upon the discovery that there is a silent film festival in Finland. Yeah, not only do I want to visit the Tom of Finland foundation and the Turku castle, but I want to attend this badly! I’m so glad they have this! Around last year they showed this film and some other time they showed Hotel Imperial. Oh lord. Pola Negri films. Being showed in Finland. I think I shall faint. Now I really want to go there. Yes, the German may be translated to Finnish…but I almost reached my Finnish intermediate level around three years ago….then I got so depressed that I stopped. I’m rusty now. But I am to learn this for once more!
Pola is waiting for me in so many places. I didn’t even know that she was known in Finland….since no one really remembers her. I am glad for this. Pola needs more recognition for her untimely talent. Silent film was an art. It’s not just making faces, like how they said it in Singin’ in the Rain, it requires clever acting tactics and excavation of the roots of your emotions. I wish I could’ve gone and seen the premiere. I was born in the wrong blasted era.