A Woman of the World (1925)

Stars: Pola Negri, Holmes Herbert, Blanche Mehaffey, Chester Conklin
Director: Malcolm St. Clair
Runtime: 70 Minutes
Language: English subtitles - Orchestra music score
Color:  Black and White
Format:  DVD-R (Review)
Extras: The Golf Bug with Monte Banks
Rating: NR
Price: $16.95


Directed by Malcolm St. Clair

Pola Negri
Charles Emmett Mack
Holmes Herbert
Blanche Mehaffey
Chester Conklin
Lucille Ward - Guy Oliver
Dot Farley - May Foster
Dorothea Wolbert

A great little comedy drama starring Pola Negri. A European countess, after being betrayed by her lover, goes to live in small town Middle America with her cousins and causes havoc among the rather puritanical community members. A memorable scene involves Pola with a whip and her leading man.

Pola's  performance as the Italian Countess with the tattoo who is sexually desired by almost every male she meets was kind of over the top, but who cares? This was the 1920's, before censorship of the Hays Office, and almost any topic could be explored on film, even blatant sexuality. Two classic sequences are Conklin's tattoo and the whip. You won't forget either.

Not to be missed by any silent film fan .

70 minutes.

Extra Subject:

The Golf Bug - with Monte Banks


Review of A Woman of the World (1925)

Pola Negri, Gloria Swanson’s great rival at Paramount in the 1920s, stars in this sly comedy-drama as an Italian Countess who flees Europe after the breakup of her latest love affair. The Countess ends up at a distant cousin’s house in Maple Valley—somewhere in the American Midwest. This film (directed by Malcolm St. Clair) pokes fun at both the worldly Europeans as well as the rubes in mid-America.

No sooner does Negri arrive in Maple Valley than trouble starts. She catches the eye of a lovesick young man, Charles Emmett Mack, and the local District Attorney, Holmes Herbert, who is on a crusade against sin. Like a cat with a mouse, Negri enjoys toying with both men as she slinks (wild costumes with tons of beads) through a series of parties where yokel guests pay 25 cents to "Meet the Countess."

Wearing lots of eye makeup and outrageous costumes, Negri has fun as the worldly woman who drinks, smokes in public, and (gasp!) has a tattoo on her forearm. There is a funny scene where Negri matches tattoo art with her cousin, Chester Conklin. Others in the cast include Lucille Ward as Lou, Dot Farley and May Foster as the gossipers, and Robert Dudley.

Polish-born Negri was a huge star in the 20s but could not make the transition to sound films in Hollywood She made one American talkie, A Woman Commands (1932) then went back to German cinema through the 30s and 40s. The flamboyant Negri was famous for throwing herself on Rudolph Valentino’s coffin, claiming they had been engaged. Mack was tragically killed in a car crash in 1927 while filming The First Auto. British actor Herbert remained a character actor in films thru the 50s. Conklin was a familiar sight in silent films with his brushy moustache; he had been one of the famous Keystone Cops for Mack Sennett.

This DVD also contains a very funny 1924 short film, The Golf Bug, starring Monty Banks, who was a well-known comic of the era. Not much plot but some very funny sight gags. Too bad Banks is not better remembered; he was funny.

DVD quality is excellent.

Review by Edward Lorusso