Film

The Spanish Dancer

Pola Negri sees something in the cards

The Spanish Dancer is a 1923 film starring Pola Negri, Anthony Moreno and Wallace Beery. It only existed in fragmented form until a reconstruction in 2011 brought together several disperate, and sometimes unknown segments. It showed up at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival as part of its roadshow. The movie can be extremely funny at times, particularly Moreno’s execution scene, where everyone is drunk and hilarity ensues.

But the more impressive parts were the larger set pieces involving Negri. The way Negri commands her companions to dance with a wave of her arm while she tells Moreno’s fortune, or how she runs through the crowds at carnivale escaping Beery’s advances. She’s in constant movement, and the world seems to be pulled along with her.

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