Charlie Chaplin and Pola Negri, 1923.  They had just announced their engagement.
Charlie Chaplin and Pola Negri, 1923. They had just announced their engagement.

Charlie Chaplin’s “My Autobiography,” spends all of two pages on Pola Negri. He characterizes their ill-fated relationship of eight months as hot ardor on her part and amused indifference on his. In his take, Pola constantly demanded his attention and when he refused her, she stopped calling him. He makes no mention of their engagement. The closest he comes to confirming their involvement is telling how he was approached by her studio, which begged him to announce their engagement since her “obsession” with him was causing her “temperamental fits” on the set of The Cheat. Chaplin writes that he saw no reason to do Famous Players any favors and declined to do so. End of story.

Miss Negri, on the other hand, spends about thirty pages of Memoirs of a Star on her relationship, engagement, and breakup with Chaplin shortly after her arrival in America in September, 1922. In her re-telling, Chaplin pursued her. Miss Negri excuses Charlie’s “fact-free” recounting, declaring he had, “a total lack of a sense of humor about his private life.”

(From “A Creature of Flame and Desire,” Sergio Delgado, copyright, 2014.)

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