Whoa, this movie was something else. Pola Negri certainly had a way with the camera; her 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. The more silent films I see the more I am convinced their filmmakers braved topics that would be considered taboo even in our own day. And they explored those topics with rare honesty and depth. This is such a film. And that whip scene, goodness me, I've never seen anything like it.
My favorite scene however was where Chester Conklin, trying to make the Countess feel better about the tattoo on her arm, starts to remove his shirt and show her the long train tattoos on both HIS arms. Pola starts laughing hysterically and you can tell she wasn't acting.
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