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Forbidden Paradise (1924)

Alexei saves the Czarina from conspirators and is rewarded with her love. He deserts his sweetheart Anna, but discovers that his Queen is unfaithful too. Enraged, Alexei becomes a leader in the ongoing revolution against the royals.


Ernst Lubitsch




Cast overview:
Pola Negri ... Catherine (the Czarina)
Rod La Rocque ... Capt. Alexei Czerny
Adolphe Menjou ... Chancellor
Pauline Starke ... Anna
Fred Malatesta ... French ambassador
Nick De Ruiz Nick De Ruiz ... The General
Carrie Daumery ... Lady-in-Waiting


Forbidden Paradise is a 1924 American silent drama film produced by Famous Players-Lasky and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It was directed by German film director Ernst Lubitsch. The film is based on a 1922 Broadway play, The Czarina, by Edward Sheldon who adapted the Hungarian language book of Melchior Lengyel and Lajos Bíró. The play starred Doris Keane, in one of her last stage roles, about Catherine the Great. Basil Rathbone costarred with Keane. The film starred Pola Negri as Catherine the Great and Rod La Rocque in the Rathbone role. The film marked Clark Gable's second film appearance.

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Remade as A Royal Scandal (1945) See more »

User Reviews

Recovered and Restored
12 January 2019 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

I was at MoMA the evening for the restored version of the film, with accompaniment by the legendary Ben Model at the piano-forte -- Dave Kehr's word, not mine; don't become mythical, Ben. Professor Model had a look at the print before the show, and as a result, I heard the sort of score I would have expected at the Carnegie forty or so years back, when they decided not to turn on the organ.

It's based on a play by Melchior Lengyel about Catherine the Great of Russia and Otto Preminger finished the sound remake, A ROYAL SCANDAL, when Lubitsch fell ill. In this version, however, while Pola Negri plays Catherine, she's the Queen of a small kingdom where they have Czech names, Cyrillic letters and Western Union telegrams. She has a reputation as that type of woman, and revolution is a-brewing. She has overwhelmed handsome officer Rod Larocque, whose fiancee, lady-in-waiting Pauline Starke, is not happy being kept waiting.. La Rocque, being essentially a small-town American farmboy, finally loses his temper and joins the uprising.

That, of course, is by way of background. Kudos to Adolphe Menjou, who plays Pola's Chancellor as his screen persona of the period: cynical, corrupt and a voyeur by vocation and avocation, with more than a dash as the caring and kindly producer he would play in the 1930s. Clark Gable is supposed to play an extra in this movie. I imagine I spotted him twice, once with a mustache, and once not. There are also Lubitsch touches aplenty, with footstools and hands and discarded Champagne corks to tell the audience what's going on.

And Miss Negri, of course. About ten minutes in, I thought she reminded me of someone else. I soon realized who: she had a longer nose, but she was the same coloring and body type as my grandfather's second wife, who was a trouper in the Yiddish theater in Warsaw until Sept. 1, 1939. I saw Chana perform a few times more than fifty years ago on Second Avenue, and she even used some of the same mannerisms. Some things never change, I guess, and sometimes that's a good thing.

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Release Date:

30 November 1924 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das verbotene Paradies See more »


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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