In cooperation with the National Film Archive in Warsaw and the Polish Institute in Düsseldorf, the Film Museum in Łódź presents an exhibition entitled Pola Negri. A Cinema Legend. It is a retrospective, biographical project, depicting the story of the life and artistic development of an outstanding, international film star. Our intention is to familiarise the visitors with this once extremely popular actress, who began her career in the age of silent cinema, successfully continued it after the advent of talking pictures, and managed to conquer America, but who, in spite of her achievements, is largely unknown to the contemporary viewers, particularly the younger ones.
The exhibition is not solely based on the materials stored in the collections of Polish archives, libraries or museums – thanks to our foreign partners from Germany, France, the Netherlands and the USA, including institutions such as Deutsche Kinemathek, Deutsches Filminstitut, Bundesarchiv, La Cinématheque française, University of Southern California, Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, and Paramount Pictures, we were able to enhance our exhibition with remarkably valuable materials, which are now made available to cinema lovers. Pola Negri is undoubtedly the greatest film star of Polish descent to have conquered Hollywood. With her brilliant career, she paved the way to the ‘dream factory’ for other European stars.

In a memoir written specially for the exhibition catalogue, A. C. Lyles, a film producer from Paramount Pictures, describes Pola in the following way:
‘Pola Negri was a widely known Paramount Pictures actress who made a great contribution to the history of silent cinema. Along with Gloria Swanson, she boasted a huge number of fans all around the world. It is largely her that Paramount Pictures owed its popularity to in those days. She was a grand movie star, widely recognised and highly acclaimed. Paramount has not forgotten her crucial role in the development of the company and would like to express sincere gratitude for her contribution’.

Pola Negri appeared in sixty-three pictures, of which only eight were produced in Poland; most of the films in which she appeared were made while she lived in Germany and the USA.

This is the first time that anyone has gathered such a great variety of materials associated with the life and art of Pola Negri. The visitors may admire a unique collection of postcards, film stills, leaflets and records featuring her songs. Truly impressive is the collection of Pola Negri-related film posters from all over the world. Many of the posters may be regarded as genuine works of art in themselves.
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