Hi, my name is David Gasten, and I have been the webmaster of The Pola Negri Appreciation Site since its inception in 2003. Hard to believe that this site has been up for eight years now! This site has been a point of reference for fans of Pola Negri and people wanting to learn more about her, and has also helped accomplish something that I never thought would happen in my lifetime: it has helped to replace much of poor information, rumor, and undeserved disdain for Pola with a general love and respect for Pola the actress and Pola the lady.
This is how my interest in Pola Negri began. In 1999, when I was still just exploring and learning about silent movies, I thought it might be a good idea to devote some of my researching and writing talents to preserving the memory of a silent film star. So as I continued my reading, I kept my eyes open for a star that I could specialize in. It was not very long before I decided to devote a portion of my life to studying and introducing others to Pola Negri.
There are three random incidents that drew me to Pola. The first was that I was getting into Theda Bara at the time and was depressed that there were so few of her films in existence. I realized that I would have to divert my growing interest in dark silent ladies elsewhere if I didn’t want to hit a brick wall. The second was that the name “Pola Negri” kept turning up again and again in my research. I quickly realized that Pola was an important star in her day and that there was relatively little information available on her—and what did exist wasn’t always very good. The third was my discovery that Pola spent the last thirty years of her life in San Antonio, Texas, and had left an archive of memorabilia at a university there. I was based in Dallas at the time, so beginning intensive research on Pola looked like it would not be as difficult as researching other stars because she was local. So I took the plunge. Little did I know that I was destined to become a leading authority on Pola and would contribute heavily to the burgeoning revival of interest in this once-forgotten star.
One of the things I've been particularly grateful for has been being able to work closely with film director Mariusz Kotowski, director of the esteemed documentary Life is a Dream in Cinema: Pola Negri (2006). Both of us are tremendous fans of Pola's, and Mariusz in particular has been able to do many things that have been particularly important in introducing people to Pola and helping them fall in love with her. These include releasing the aforementioned documentary and taking it all over the world, writing and publishing the Polish-language biography Pola Negri: Legenda Hollywood, and releasing the recent Pola Negri DVD box set that features the first ever home video releases of The Polish Dancer (1914) and The Yellow Ticket (1917). Bravo to Mariusz for all of his amazing work; I'd like to think that between the two of us, but especially with Mariusz, Pola's legacy has fallen into capable, gentlemanly hands.
I am so grateful to the many people who have written in to share their love for Pola with me over the years. I am also thankful for the genuine revival of interest in Pola, namely in Europe, that this site has helped to kindle. We will add even more artifacts and information as time and resources permit, so feel free to check back occasionally.
P.S. The link works, but if you'd rather type it out, just replace the ???'s with the appropriate symbols. Also eliminate all the funny marks.
I hate spam!