starring Pola Negri and Antonio Moreno
December, 1923

After being wasted in "Bella Donna" and "The Cheat," Pola Negri comes back to her own in this picture. She is again La Negri of "Passion." She has shed the veneer of sophistication and has reverted to the primitive woman type. As the gypsy girl in this adaptation of "Don Caesar de Bazan," she gives a magnificent performance. She portrays almost every emotion conceivable, and does each and every one admirably. Herbert Brenon, the director, shares the honors. Tony Moreno is a lovable scapegrace as the hero, playing the role in a dashing devil-may-care fashion. Wallace Beery adds another to his long list of fine characterizations as the king of Spain. With this production, Paramount is keeping its promise of bigger and better pictures.

starring Pola Negri and Antonio Moreno
January, 1923

We have seen Pola Negri in "The Spanish Dancer," and we admit frankly that we are captive to her flashing beauty and her fire. There has been disparaging criticism of Pola Negri, which has attempted to analyze her fascination and her subsequent popularity. It has been laid to a number of things, chiefly sex appeal. And, admitting that this is basically true, we do not grant that it makes her any the less a personality. She dominates every scene in which she appears, and she is an actress, to boot.

A gypsy girl who wins the King's fancy on a Carnival day. . . while, on the same day her lover merits the royal disfavor and is sentenced to be hanged. . . this is the stuff of which "The Spanish Dancer" is made. Like Mary Pickford's "Rosita," it is adapted from "Don Caesar de Bazan." We have less praise for the production of "The Spanish Dancer" itself than we had for "Rosita." Ernst Lubitsch knows more about Kings and their retinues and European people than our American directors. That is natural. He was born a European, and for years he knew the sophistication of the Continent. We doubt his directorial dexterity in producing a drama of our Middle West.

Antonio Moreno is the dashing Don Caesar, and he is good to look upon. There were several times when he called Douglas Fairbanks to our mind. The monarch, of course, is Wallace Beery. What casting director would have any other actor as a king? Not that we quarrel with them on this score. However, Wallace Beery is to our cinematic mind History personified.

Kathlyn Williams was a regal Queen . . . Adolph Menjou was a fascinating courtier . . . and Gareth Hughes gave poignancy to the role of the weak, adolescent apprentice in whose behalf the hero disregards the royal proclamation.

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