Barbed Wire (1927 film)

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Barbed Wire
Barbed Wire lobby card.jpg
Lobby card
Directed by Rowland V. Lee
Mauritz Stiller (uncredited)
Written byRowland V. Lee (adaptation)
Jules Furthman
Based on The Woman of Knockaloe
by Hall Caine
Produced byRowland V. Lee
Erich Pommer
Jesse L. Lasky
Starring Pola Negri
Clive Brook
Cinematography Bert Glennon
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • September 10, 1927 (1927-09-10)
Running time
7 reels (67-79 minutes)
CountryUnited States
Language Silent (English intertitles)

Barbed Wire is a 1927 American silent romance film set in World War I. It stars Pola Negri as a French farmgirl and Clive Brook as the German prisoner of war she falls in love with. The film was based on the 1923 novel The Woman of Knockaloe by Hall Caine. [1] Unlike the original novel, which is set at the Knockaloe internment camp in the Isle of Man, the film takes place in Normandy, France. Some plot alterations were made in the adaptation, including most importantly the insertion of a happy ending. [2]


Pola Negri and Clive Brook Pola Negri in Barbed Wire (4).jpg
Pola Negri and Clive Brook



Despite the central peaceful message of both the film and the novel, the British audience reacted to the film with an upsurge of anti-German sentiment. Incensed by this, Hall Caine wrote to The Sunday Times objecting to the ‘monstrous’ and ‘malicious’ misrepresentation by ‘certain sections of the press’, which described the plot as ‘pro-German’. [3]

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Sir Thomas Henry Hall Caine, usually known as Hall Caine, was a British novelist, dramatist, short story writer, poet and critic of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Caine's popularity during his lifetime was unprecedented. He wrote fifteen novels on subjects of adultery, divorce, domestic violence, illegitimacy, infanticide, religious bigotry and women's rights, became an international literary celebrity, and sold a total of ten million books. Caine was the most highly paid novelist of his day. The Eternal City is the first novel to have sold over a million copies worldwide. In addition to his books, Caine is the author of more than a dozen plays and was one of the most commercially successful dramatists of his time; many were West End and Broadway productions. Caine adapted seven of his novels for the stage. He collaborated with leading actors and managers, including Wilson Barrett, Viola Allen, Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Louis Napoleon Parker, Mrs Patrick Campbell, George Alexander, and Arthur Collins. Most of Caine's novels were adapted into silent black and white films. A. E. Coleby's 1923 18,454 feet, nineteen-reel film The Prodigal Son became the longest commercially made British film. Alfred Hitchcock's 1929 film The Manxman, is Hitchcock's last silent film.

Barbed Wire may refer to

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  1. Barbed Wire at the database
  2. Andrew Kelly, Cinema and the Great War, Routledge, 1996
  3. ‘Forgotten Prisoners of the Great war’ by Panikos Panayi, in History Today, Volume: 62 Issue: 11 2012