Monday, October 1
♪ Live piano accompaniment by Steve Sterner
(1927, Mauritz Stiller) “A fascinating melodrama enlivened by wry comedy, which also proved to be the best American vehicle for Pola Negri’s vivid, earthy personality. She is seen here as the chambermaid in a border town hotel, alternately occupied by Russians and Austro-Hungarians as the tide of war runs to and fro. A fugitive Austrian officer (James Hall) takes refuge there and falls in love with her, but she is desired by commander of the resident Russians (George Siegmann) whose firing squad is an ever-present threat.” – John Douglas Eames, The Paramount Story. 35mm print courtesy Library of Congress. Approx. 85 min.
“The story is told swiftly and economically, with the camera industriously searching for significant details and making the most of them.”
– Richard Koszarski
“[The opening scenes] are unparalleled anywhere. Stragglers from the Austro-Hungarian Army are riding, dog-tired, in the bleak misty darkness. Challenged, pursued, one of them escapes by dropping into a courtyard and creeps into the quiet house beyond it… He is nearly dead with weariness and knowing that he must not linger a moment he humors his tired body with sitting down for a moment. His brain plays him a trick; he thinks he is on horseback again, swaying. He is dead asleep in an instant, while the Russian army draws nearer and nearer. That whole scene was conceived, directed, and photographed without a flaw.”
– Iris Barry