Thursday, 2 January 2014

Damn sympathy!

From my other blog Give 'em the Old Razzle Dazzle back in May 2010:
The lovely Pola Negri was a wonderfully exotic addition to the Art Deco silent movie era - she left her native Hungary early in her career, and was "discovered" by Hollywood while residing in Weimar Berlin. Her career blossomed in glamorous big-budget silents alongside the megastars of the day such as Rudolph Valentino (with whom she had a much-publicised affair), but the Depression and the rise of the talkies were not kind to her career. Controversially on her return to Germany she became a firm favourite actress of Adolf Hitler (despite being anti-Nazi herself), and the "Nazi connection" led to much vilification among her peers, including Tallulah Bankhead, despite the fact that the German authorities were in fact investigating her alleged Jewish background.

After leaving Germany and later the occupation of France, she returned to Hollywood, where she made a few more movies before retiring in the 1940s. Pola Negri maintained her flamboyant persona to the end of her life and was often compared to Norma Desmond, a character role she had famously turned down - which became the most famous and iconic screen moment for her friend and rival Gloria Swanson. She lived to the ripe old age of 90, and when she died in 1987 her body was laid out wearing a yellow golden chiffon dress with a golden turban to match. A magnificent lady!
From her obituary in the New York Times:
Whenever she appeared in public, she was festooned in diamonds and pearl brooches from her $1 million collection, acquired cut-rate from Hapsburgs and Hohenzollerns who could no longer afford them. She popularized painted toenails in the mid-20's, and when she took to wearing turbans, or appeared in high boots, thousands of American women slavishly copied her.

[on her attempted comeback to movies in 1963]...she proved she had not lost her knack for finding a bizarre gimmick sure to give her headlines. For her first press conference, she entered the room with a frisky cheetah on a leash.
"All you have to do is to say you want to be alone - and the whole world thinks you are exotic and glamorous. It never occurs to them that you are simply tired."

"Damn sympathy! I don't care whether they love me or not. I don't care whether I am beautiful or not. I want a chance to act."

"Love is disgusting when you no longer possess yourself."

"I consider my work great, as I am a great artist."

Pola Negri (born Apolonia Chałupiec, 3rd January 1897 – 1st August 1987)


  1. An Extra Ordinary woman, even in death it seems.

  2. Have you ever heard of Elinor Glyn, on her tiger skin? It was Elinor Glyn who was Gloria Swanson's mentor in Hollywood (She most famously wrote the book "It" that made a star of Clara Bow.) Elinor favoured turbans and flowing caftan-type garments in her later years, which is when Gloria first met her she was 22 and Elinor was in her fifties. It was Elinor that Gloria copied when dressing the part of Norma Desmond in HER later years!

    1. Darling, I am a staunch adherent of 'The Elinor Glyn System of Writing' (although I have perhaps neglected to include much in the way of "romantic fiction" in this blog - apart from Miss Glyn's natural successor Barbara Cartland, of course). The scandalous lady, the inventor of "It", is never far from our thoughts - and I am certain the Saintly Elinor will gain the merit of entry in the Museum of Camp in due course.. Happy New Year! Jx


Please leave a message - I value your comments!