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moviejoe79

Pola Negri Documentary

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Hello everyone,

 

I've been away from the boards for awhile, so I don't know if this has been discussed, but I wanted to mention the N.Y. premiere of the new documentary about Pola Negri.

 

The boards own Larry was interviewed for it, (and Larry you probably already know this), but the Museum of Modern Art is having the documentary's New York premiere on Monday, Sept. 18th at 8:15 pm. The screening will be hosted by Mariusz Kotowski who made it, along with acting legend Eli Wallach, who is interviewed in it since he worked with Pola in Disney's "The Moonspinners." Hayley Mills, who also starred in that movie is interviewed as well. The documentary is narrated by Cindy Williams of "Laverne and Shirley" fame.

 

MOMA is also showing some of Pola's movies, in the days following the premiere, including "Madame Dubarry," and "Hotel Imperial," as well as some other RARELY seen films of hers. I'm looking forward to the documentary, and hopefully I'll have time to see one or two of the movies.

 

Just thought you guys would be interested in hearing about it, and I hope everyone is doing well!

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My dear Joe,

 

I have been wondering about you now for weeks!!!!

 

And no, I didn't know for sure that Pola was really being shown this September at MOMA. Although I had heard rumours about it. Nobody has been in touch with me lately and I'd sort of given up.

'Mark' Kotowski is not too accommodating with me as he was when he he wanted me for the interview. I don't communicate with him anymore.

 

Are you going to the showing? If you do, please report on it here for all of us. I will be in Russia on the 18th, so you can E-Mail me at lawrencerussell@shaw.ca as I will be taking my laptop there, if they allow them on the planes now!!!!!

 

Good to hear from you, Joe, and stay in touch.

 

Thanks,

Larry

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"I wanted to mention the N.Y. premiere of the new documentary about Pola Negri. ... The board's own Larry was interviewed for it... the Museum of Modern Art is having the documentary's New York premiere on Monday, Sept. 18th at 8:15 pm.

 

Just wanted to add that MoMA will repeat the screening on Sunday, September 24 at 1:30pm.

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Jack,

 

Are you going to this showing or are you just reporting an advertisment you saw?

It's a long way to go from San Francisco to NYC just to see Pola!!!!

If you do see the film, please let me know about it as I've never seen it and I'm apparently anathema now with the Poles!! The ungrateful wretchs... Go figure; I can't!!!!!

 

Larry

 

Message was edited by:

vecchiolarry

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"Are you going to this showing or are you just reporting an advertisment you saw? It's a long way to go from San Francisco to NYC just to see Pola!!!!"

 

I looked it up to see if there were other screening scheduled; perhaps even in San Francisco. Alas, I couldn't find any others. I have been hankering for a trip to Manhattan (ever since seeing The Devil Wears Prada), so don't be surprised if I use Ms. Negri as my excuse. I wouldn't be the first time I've flown to New York to see a movie. And if I go, I will certainly report herewith.

 

:)

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Larry,

 

I have had major issues trying to post here as well. In fact I wrote post about MOMA's showing of the Pola Negri documentary which somehow got lost in the cyberspace of the TCM Forums. (Actually MovieJoe, great minds think alike because it was almost word-for-word the same as your post.) I too will be seeing the Pola Negri Documentary, and I hope to also catch Hotel Imperial. MOMA's description of this 1927 silent as a film "made in the Paramount high style" sounds like it should not be missed.

 

Anyway when you get back from your trip to Russia I hope you are able to post successfully (please tell us about the new Amber Room!)

 

If you are still having posting issues, perhaps you can do what I eventually had to do when my previous ID became unusable and stopped working altogether, and create a new ID from a different computer . You are an essential part of these boards and would be missed!

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Hi,

 

The Pola Negri documentary was shown in London on the weekend.

Moira Lister, a very good friend of mine, saw it at a special showing. She said it was very good and quite truthful in presenting her career but she wondered where most of her personal life was.

 

The film runs at 89 minutes; that?s what?s listed in the program she has. However, it was contracted for 122 minutes when I was interviewed. She told me I?m nowhere to be seen but David, a Pola Negri film expert is still there. David is the gentleman I took to LA last autumn and showed around. Ironically, I haven?t heard from him since April, when the film played in LA and I didn?t go to that nor did I finance his trip there. He didn?t go either (actually, couldn?t go ? no money!) and now I?m anathema, I guess. Ungrateful lout!!

 

Also, Mark Kotowski, the producer, has never contacted me again since April. He wanted me to put on a cocktail party at the Beverly Hills Hotel for his Polish friends, which I was willing to do; but when I wanted to invite my friends ? Elaine Stewart and her husband, Merrill Heater, and Lynn (our own Lzcutter) and her husband, he said no. The nerve!!; so, I didn?t go to LA.

Now, I haven?t heard from him since. Another ungrateful lout?.

 

So, Joe and Richard, if you go to the showing, let me know what you think and how long the film actually is. Please and thank you?.

 

Larry

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Hey, RichNYC,

I, too, have been having major problems posting on the TCM Forums, but have found RELIEF.

Here's what I do...

1. Open up whatever ISP you use, AOL, etc.

2. Minimize it

3. Now open up Internet Explorer

4. Go to www.TCM.com

5. Sign in and VOILA...you are good to go. You will not have any more problems!

No problems posting or anything.

 

Good luck,

Susu

P.S. I love all the reminiscing all of you do!

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Rich, glad to know you're around! I will be going to the premire showing of the doc, the one that Eli Wallach will be appearing at. Hope to see you there. I was going to try to see "Hotel Imperial" as well, since, as you say, MOMA says it was filmed in Paramount "high style." Sounds great. And the live piano accompaniment should be nice too. I have yet to see a silent there with the live piano, since I usually only go to the sound films. This past Friday I saw "Dodsworth" there. Incredible. Nothing like seeing one of your all time favorite movies on the big screen, with an almost packed theater no less! They've been showing some great movies lately, since they're doing a tribute to the Huston family.

 

Larry, I'll be sure to tell you what I think of the documentary. And what a shame the filmmaker cut you out. I hope he at least has you in the credits as a contributor! On another note, the other day I watched the DVD of "Dead Ringer," with Bette Davis and Karl Malden. On the disc there is a promo about the movie, sort of a "making of," and in it they show behind the scenes shots of the filming that took place at the "Doheny" mansion. I immediately thought of you, and wondered what connection this "palace" has to your family. What an incredible house. I'm sure someone in your family owned it / lived there, if not your grandmother Nell. You may have even mentioned this house before, but I don't remember. Please fill me in.

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Hi Joe,

 

I'm glad you're going to the documentary and will see Eli Wallach there.

 

I did see "Dead Ringer" years ago and it was filmed at Greystone, which was my Uncle Ned's home in Beverly Hills. He was Nell's brother.

I have been in the house about half a dozen times. It belongs to the City of Beverly Hills now.

 

Larry

 

Message was edited by:

vecchiolarry

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Larry, and everyone else -

 

I went to the premiere last night, and it was a nice event. The theater was full, and Kotowski and Eli Wallach were there, along with Anne Jackson, Wallach's wife.

 

The evening started with an introduction by the Director of the Film Department, followed by Eli Wallach coming up to the podium to say a few words about Pola. Then Kotowski was introduced, and spoke briefly about the film in a VERY thick accent. (I guess that's why he only spoke briefly).

 

The film itself ran the 89 minutes that you expected it would Larry, and unfortunately you were not in it, but you are thanked in the credits. It's a shame that he didn't use you, not even briefly, since he gave a TREMENDOUS amount of screen time to Jeanine Basinger. And it's not that I dislike her, but knowing that he cut you but yet showed so much of her is a little ridiculous. And I do respect her, a lot more than I do other so called historians, like Molly Haskell who I can't stand. But, it would've been nice to hear from you since you had a personal connection with Pola, and Basinger only offered her opinions and knowledge through studying her films. Hearing from someone who actually met Pola is a lot more interesting in my view. But you would like Basinger's comments, she's obviously a fan and has seen all of Pola's films, so she was definitely the best historian to interview. Anthony Slide was also in it, but not half as much as Basinger, and Basinger's comments were better anyhow. A.C. Lyles was in it a lot too though, and I wasn't too impressed with what he had to say, which was nothing special. They could have cut some of his screen time in my opinion. And as your friend said, the documentary did focus mostly on her career. Although of her personal life, it did talk about her romances with Chaplin and Valentino (whom she was supposedly going to marry), and it spoke briefly about her childhood in Poland, and her mother. It also spent some time on her retirement in San Antonio, Texas, and her friendship with a lady who she met in New York who basically took care of her financially. (I can't remember the lady's name). But all of this I knew from reading Pola's autobiography. There was really no new light shed on anything if you've read her book. And speaking of her book, the ghostwriter of the book was also interviewed, but once again only showed briefly since so much time was given to Basinger and A.C. But all in all it was a well done film, and it was well received by the audience.

 

I met Kotowski briefly afterwards, since he was shaking hands and thanking people for coming, and I congratulated him on the film. What was really a thrill though was saying hello to Eli Wallach. He and Anne Jackson walked out with Kotowski's wife, and I was a few people behind them. When we got outside, I said hello and shook his hand, and told him how we had met on Long Island a few years back, and how nice it was to see him again. He thanked me and then I left. It was great getting to meet him again, and he's still going strong at 90! God bless him. Anne Jackson looked good too.

 

I hope to get back to the museum to see a few of her films, and I hope that this documentary makes it to DVD. And Larry, if it does, perhaps your interview will be included. And you know, after seeing it, I couldn't help thinking how great it would be for TCM to show this documentary, to perhaps have a Pola Negri night. Considering the direction that the station is going in, it's doubtful they would do it, but it would be great. Considering how incredibly famous she was, she should be remembered a little more than she is.

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Hello Joe,

 

Thank you for giving me your review of the film.

I have been told that her career was more the focal point of it so I guess one can't be disappointed by being cut out.

It's not the first film I've been cut out of, so -- c'est la vie, c'est la ****!!!!!!!!

 

I'm very happy for you seeing Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson again. Pola always spoke very highly of them and the whole "Moonspinners" cast.

 

Thanks again for doing this!!!!

 

Love Ya!!

Larry

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No problem Larry, I was planning to see it anyway. And don't feel too bad, because as I said, you were thanked in the credits. You know, there's a guy with a Pola Negri website that was interviewed, and he didn't offer much insight either. It's great that this guy is such a fan, but once again, I think that your comments would've been more interesting. What did he have you talk about when he interviewed you? I'm still surprised that he didn't use any information that someone who knew her could provide.

 

I'm wondering if Richard was there. He hasn't visited this thread in awhile. Perhaps he's going to the next showing, which is next week I believe. Richard, please weigh in!

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Hi Joe,

 

I will PM you about the 'guy with the website' and tell you that sordid story in confidence.

 

I would like to see the film just for A.C. Lyles. He's an old chum from Paramount days.

 

Also, the Texas woman who befriended Pola was Margaret West. She knew how to party. She had suites in The Plaza, The Pierre and The Sherry Netherlands in NYC and all at the same time. I miss her too.....

 

Larry

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Susu, thanks for the tip - if you can read this post it means your advice worked!

 

Joe, since the MOMA seemed to be in the zone of the UN General Assembly, before I came back into midtown I called MOMA at around 4:30 PM to find out if they had tickets, and they said they were sold out! For future reference, I found out MOMA releases half of each showing's film tickets one week in advance, and the other half go on sale the day of the event. So I am going to go to Sunday's showing, but I will not see Eli Wallach unfortunately.

 

Larry, it is too bad your reminiscences did not make the final cut, because you did know her quite well, as opposed to a critic or a film historian.

 

But that is the problem with many Hollywood documentaries. While I appreciate the scholarship of film historians, LOL I personally would rather hear from the third assistant grip who actually was on the set of the classic movie or worked with the star.

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Thank you Larry for enlightening me on the situation.

 

Richard, I completely understand about the U.N. General Assembly. It's a mess in midtown, and even busy here at the hotel where I work, where the White House press office is based. I went up to MOMA to get my ticket after lunch, since I'm only about 10 blocks away. I had a feeling it would sell out, since Eli Wallach was there, and since it was the "premiere." But definitely try and see it at the next showing, which I believe is the only other one they're doing.

 

You know, Pola visited MOMA sometime in the late 70's / early 80's for a retrospective of her films. The director of the film dept. said how great it was to have her there, even though it was rather late in her life. He said she wasn't up to speaking to the audience, but was present for some of the films. I'm sure she'd be thrilled to know that now there is another retrospective going on.

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Richard,

 

I hope you enjoy the documentary and can see some of Madame Negri's movies, too!!

 

Joe,

 

Let me know what you think of her films. Thanks!

 

Larry

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I just returned from seeing the Pola Negri documentary at MOMA.

 

If anyone at TCM reads these forums I hope you do buy the rights to televise the documentary. It is one of the better documentaries about a Hollywood actress, and it is very much worth seeing (though it somehow misses being totally great).

 

It was fun to actually SEE her in her prime. I have always known the name, and I have the Life Magazine featured at the end of the documentary, but I have never seen a single film clip of Pola Negri. Unfortunately, while the film clips were well chosen, the technical quality of the film clips was really poor. Bizarrely among the clips in the worst shape was her film in the 1940s with RKO Hi Diddle Diddle ! Doesn't TCM own the RKO films?

 

Anyway as Joe mentioned, there was a significant amount of screen time to Jeanine Basinger at the expense of some of the others. And while I agree she seems like a very enthusiastic fan and booster of Pola Negri's sadly forgotten films, her opinions about war versus peace or the feuds of female actresses vs unreported feuds of male actors were totally unnecessary and had NOTHING to do with Pola Negri. The best reminiscences came from those who knew her, like Hayley Mills and Eli Wallach (who was great). So it is too bad Larry your interview was not included.

 

The Polish filmmaker, who also moved from Poland to Texas like Pola Negri, introduced the sold-out screening. People were standing in the back of the theater!

 

Tomorrow night I am hopefully going to see the 6 PM showing of Hotel Imperial. Have you seen it Joe?

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>Although of her personal life, it did

> talk about her romances with Chaplin and Valentino

> (whom she was supposedly going to marry), and it

> spoke briefly about her childhood in Poland,

 

Not to sidetrack this discussion too much, but as one might imagine, Pola Negri is a very controversial figure among us Valentino fans...to say the least. *lol*

 

And I am very curious as to what was said about their relationship in this documentary. And what, if anything, was said about her behavior at the time of his death. It DID cause quite a stir, and continues to do so, and so I'm curious as to whether this was addressed or simply brushed over in the documentary.

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pktrekgirl, to answer your question, her relationship with Valentino was greatly covered in this documentary. It spoke of how they met, their romance, and how they were the epitome of 1920's Hollywood glamour.

 

Regarding his death, the documentary stated that she bid him farewell in California before his train trip that led him to New York where he died. The documentary even had footage of his funeral procession, with the mobs of people just trying to touch the passing hearse. It also showed footage of Pola, in black, in a state of total despair. It mentioned how she was the first "woman in black," which started a trend, that I think to this day still continues, with the "woman in black" visiting his grave on his birthday. And the documentary spoke of how fans turned against her when he died, since they felt that a lot of her sorrow was an "act." It's debatable as to whether it was or not. It also states that no one knows for sure if they were engaged or not. Supposedly they were, but no one can say definitevely. It also stated that she was with Valentino's brother when Valentino was finally laid to rest in the crypt. It was just the two of them, and she kissed the coffin before it was entombed.

 

That's about it from what I remember.

 

And Richard, I've been sick with a head cold the last few days, so I didn't get back to the museum to see any of her films. And I was thinking of going tonight after work to see "Hotel Imperial," but I don't really feel like sitting in a theater and coughing the whole time. I hope that the documentary gets released onto DVD with a few of her films included, similar to how the Olive Thomas one was, this way I'll get a chance to see them.

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Hi Joe,

 

Although Pola Negri never mentioned Rudolph Valentino nor Charlie Chaplin to me, I have been told by that great old knowledgeable gossip, Betty Blythe, that Pola left the set of "Hotel Imperial", boarded a train for NYC and stopped off in Chicago to buy her widow's weeds, etc. and charged them all to Paramount.

Smelling a good publicity roos, Paramount instucted her to "Milk it for all it's worth" and so she did, even posing and reposing for pictures at the back of the funeral train in Chicago.

So, a lot of it was an act and I think she realized it all too late when the public turned against her. She grew up after that.

 

BTW, Pola was never one of the women in black. She never went out to the grave after the funeral.

She quickly married Prince Serge Mdivani and left for Europe.

Her career in Holywood was over in 1928.

 

Larry

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Richard,

 

Did you go to see "Imperial Hotel"?

 

If so, what did you think of it? Was it a good movie? Can Pola act?

Let us know, please!

 

Larry

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Larry, I had to work and I was unable to make it uptown to see Hotel Imperial, so my exposure to Pola Negri remains the documentary. I hope TCM, or PBS airs the documentary and some of her films, so we can all see her.

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