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The Wildcat (1921)

Die Bergkatze (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 30 November 1921 (USA)
A charismatic lieutenant newly assigned to a remote fort is captured by a group of mountain bandits, thus setting in motion a madcap farce that is Lubitsch at his most unrestrained.


Ernst Lubitsch




Cast overview:
Pola Negri ... Rischka
Victor Janson Victor Janson ... Kommandant der Festung Tossenstein
Paul Heidemann ... Leutnant Alexis
Wilhelm Diegelmann ... Claudius
Hermann Thimig ... Pepo
Edith Meller ... Lilli
Marga Köhler Marga Köhler ... Frau des Kommandanten
Paul Graetz ... Zofano
Max Gronert Max Gronert ... Masilio
Erwin Kopp Erwin Kopp ... Tripo
Paul Biensfeldt Paul Biensfeldt ... Dafko


A charismatic lieutenant newly assigned to a remote fort is captured by a group of mountain bandits, thus setting in motion a madcap farce that is Lubitsch at his most unrestrained.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Claudius: You must marry!
Rischka: Don't speak so indecently!
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Crazy Credits

A Grotesque in Four Acts See more »

User Reviews

A Farce in the Snow
13 November 2014 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

In the snowy Bavarian Alps, the arrival of preening soldier Paul Heidemann (as Alexis) causes pandemonium in a military town. Thousands of women surround him, foreshadowing the attention given Rudolph Valentino and The Beatles. Not participating in the initial adulation is spirited mountain girl Pola Negri (as Rischka). A regular wildcat, Ms. Negri is introduced in a scene which shows her driving men crazy by whipping their buttocks. The men rub their rumps and complain, but return for more attention. After some kissing, Negri sees Mr. Heidemann's coach and throws a snowball at him. When he gets out and she sees his plump heinie, they get romantic...

Released when Negri and director Ernst Lubitsch were international favorites, "Die Bergkatze" was not a favorite with audiences. It's a farcical comedy inhibited by Mr. Lubitsch's relentless parody of an old film staple known as the "iris shot". This is when the screen, usually to close a scene, will turn black for a diminishing circle. In the theater, the look was achieved with lightning. Filmmakers were experimenting with the visual and Lubitsch employs it all over this film, and in a variety of shapes...

A decade earlier, there was a debate about whether motion pictures should use the "close-up shot" because some felt the audience would feel like they were denied a full look at the performer (as on the stage). With a "close-up" you still get the full look; with the "iris shot", you do not. In this film, the visual is excessive and distracting. We're denied full-screen looks at the film's chief strength, its beautiful set decoration. Another feature, the "double exposure", nicely introduces Act IV "Rischka's Dream". Usually cast as a seductress, Negri is most engaging as a comedienne. The available print looks great and is accompanied by a new, oppressive soundtrack.

***** Die Bergkatze (4/14/21) Ernst Lubitsch ~ Pola Negri, Paul Heidemann, Victor Janson, Wilhelm Diegelmann

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Release Date:

30 November 1921 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wildcat See more »

Filming Locations:

Kreuzeck, Bavaria, Germany See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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