Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Pola Negri, Leopold von Ledebur, Harry Liedtke, Paul Biensfeldt, Paul Conradi
Studio: Music Video Dist Release Date: 06/30/2009 Run time: 65 minutes
Two silent era gypsy films, one serious, one not so
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 12/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"German director Ernst Lubitsch's CARMEN (aka "Gypsy Blood") is one of his and Polish-born Pola Negri's earliest surviving photoplays. Based on Prosper Merimee's famous work, this is the tragic story of a Spanish cavalryman and the gypsy girl who steals his heart.
Also included is a related Charlie Chaplin two-reeler, THE VAGABOND. Chaplin produced, scripted, directed and starred in this comedy. The story: A street musician (Chaplin) falls in love with a gypsy girl (Purviance). Charlie's convinced that his sweetheart prefers an artist who painted her portrait. The girl's mother, now a wealthy woman, takes her daughter to live with her in the country but Chaplin thinks she's abandoned him for the painter.
The next oldest Negri/Lubitsch collaboration available on DVD is PASSION ("Madame DuBarry") from 1919. This co-stars the great Emil Jannings.
Parenthetical numbers preceding titles are 1 to 10 viewer poll ratings found at a film resource website.
(6.6) Carmen ("Gypsy Blood") (Germany-1918) - Harry Liedtke/Pola Negri/Leopold von Ledebur/Paul Conradi
(7.0) The Vagabond (1916) - Charles Chaplin/Edna Purviance/Eric Campbell/Leo White/Lloyd Bacon/Charlotte Mineau/Albert Austin/John Rand/James T. Kelley/Frank J. Coleman"
A Plea For Silent Film Era Restoration
Thomas Outt | San Francisco, California | 05/08/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Gypsy BloodI think this was a fine film, informed by the Bizet opera Carmen. Why I express this in terms of uncertainty has to do with the quality of the DVD. It was copied from sources that cry out for restoration! There are many scenes that art (from a technical perspective) is unintentionally imitating life--it's a blur. Too many scenes are basically unwatchable, a real disappointment for Pola Negri appreciators trying to connect with her body of work. If the viewer puts forth imagination & serious viewing effort, you can "feel" her talent & artistry coming through, despite the almost overwhelming limitations of film deterioration. You also get a perspective of how film work in general was handled during this early period. Many directors have still not learned to incorporate good crowd scenes into their story line, and this one is no exception. The plot & motivation are simple, the Carmen story: poor & "exotic" woman connects with rich "high-born" man "already taken" & the complexities that are expected flow. Pola Negri makes this common-place stuff interesting because of her interpretive skill @ going beyond simple, surface dimensions. Too bad we cannot see her artistry better in this film! Again, my soapbox, why her career is not being showcased in the few venues that permit a wide public viewing--well? Maybe we can have a Long Distance Bicycle Ride That Benefits Silent Film Restoration (LDBRTBSFR--splendid acronym! Knew if I lived long enough I'd add something to the Oxford English Dictionary!). Seriously, this one could be a poster child for the cause of Silent Film Era Restoration. Enjoy it if you can see it!"