From “A Creature of Flame and Desire,” by Sergio Delgado, Copyright, 2014.
Here it is, the toppermost of the poppermost, the summit, the acme, the peak. The End! No.1 in all it’s glory!
For my favorite portrait, I have chosen this shot of Pola Negri from 1924’s “Lily of the Dust.’ Two reasons: 1. Unlike photos from The Cheat and the Charmer which are dated somewhat by their 1920’s flourishes, this portrait is just about as modern and contemporary-looking as a photo taken today. It has a timeless quality that looks great in any era. 2. For me, this photograph sums up her allure and, more importantly, the reason why I consider her the quintessential silent movie actress. It’s all in the eyes, folks, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen more expressive eyes in a posed photo than what Miss Negri shows here. There was always such a palette of emotions in her eyes, so many possibilities, that when she acted out a part it always seemed instinctive. She looks so natural here–the photo almost looks like a candid shot. I consider this “Exhibit A” in my defense of her as the most beautiful woman to ever grace the silent camera. If you ain’t convinced of that yet, why are you still here?