SAPPHO ( German release: 1921; released as MAD LOVE in the United States 1923)
starring Pola Negri
May 1923

This is one of the last productions Pola Negri made in Germany before she migrated to Hollywood. It isn't a "Passion" by any means; indeed, it is very Germanic. "Mad Love" is the story of a courtesan who comes to know real love, but, like Camille and ohter ladies who have transgressed the moral code in dramatic literature, she loses her happiness when her past confronts her. Even in its present form -- diluted by marriages sprayed into the sub-titles -- "Mad Love" is only for adult consumption. The direction is of the older continential film school. Pola's playing has abandon, but it is too braod. There is nothing of the subtlety she achieved time and again under Lubitsch. The male roles are all over-acted, and the handling of the various episodes is highly inadroit.

SAPPHO ( German release: 1921; released as MAD LOVE in the United States 1923)
starring Pola Negri
March 10, 1923

To show this picture is an imposition upn the public. Although much better than all Pola Negri pictures released in America except "Passion," it is not the kind that would appeal to American picture-goers. There is nothing pleasant in it. It is supposed to be a tragedy, but it is not -- the leading character's death does not necessarily make a tragedy; the heroine's death, instead of arousing the spectator's compassion, creates in him disgust. There is a crazy character who takes a prominent part; he is shown all the way through the picture in a padded cell, and is reserved for the end to choke the heroine to death. But he does not reach her before he has chokd to death two other persons.

The story is that of a hero, who marries a vampire, heroine. He is ignorant of the fact that it was she who brought about the insanity of his cousin. When the villain, one of the heroine's wealthy supporters, informs him, he leaves her. But his love for her being strong, he goes back to her again. He reaches her, however, too late; for he finds her choked to death by his cousin, who had escaped from the lunatic asylum.

As Pola Negri's name just now is occupying the front pages of the dailies, the picture will no doubt draw, but it is doubtful if it would satisfy many.

See more on "Sappho" as our "Feature of the Month"

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