Forbidden Paradise

Last updated

Forbidden Paradise
Forbidden Paradise poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Written by Agnes Christine Johnston
Hanns Kräly
Based onThe Czarina
by Edward Sheldon
Produced by Adolph Zukor
Jesse Lasky
Starring Pola Negri
Rod La Rocque
Adolphe Menjou
Pauline Starke
CinematographyCharles Van Enger
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • November 30, 1924 (1924-11-30)(U.S.)
Running time
8 reels; 7,543 feet
CountryUnited States
Language Silent (English intertitles)

Forbidden Paradise is a 1924 American silent drama film, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, produced by Famous Players-Lasky, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film is based on a 1922 Broadway play, The Czarina, by Edward Sheldon, who adapted the Hungarian-language book by Melchior Lengyel and Lajos Bíró. The play starred Doris Keane, in one of her last stage roles, as Catherine the Great. Basil Rathbone costarred with Keane. The film stars Pola Negri as Catherine the Great and Rod La Rocque in the Rathbone role. Clark Gable makes his second appearance on film. [1] [2] [3]



As described in a review in a film magazine, [4] Catherine (Negri), the Czarina of a small European country, decides to give audience in person to the French Ambassador (Malatesta) when she learns he is a favorite with the Parisian ladies. In the meantime, Alexei (La Rocque), a young officer in a border town discovers a revolution is in progress and hurries to the palace, forcing an entrance into the Czarina’s presence. So impressed is she that she forgets the revolution and the Ambassador and bestows her favor on Alexei, who finds himself a popular favorite and is made captain of the royal guard. Alexei neglects his fiancé Anna (Starke), one of the queen’s ladies-in-waiting. At a banquet he discovers four other officers wearing the insignia of the queen’s favor and, when he reproaches her, she chides him to avoid scandal. Disillusioned, he joins the revolution and tells the queen she is under arrest. The Chamberlain has bought off the leaders and Alexei is court-martialed and sentenced to death. The Czarina, unable to win him back, graciously pardons him even knowing that he will marry Anna. The French Ambassador is ushered in and soon reappears wearing one of the telltale decorations.


Pola Negri and Rod La Rocque Pola Negri and Rod La Rocque.jpg
Pola Negri and Rod La Rocque


Complete prints of Forbidden Paradise are located in the George Eastman Museum Motion Picture Collection, Museum of Modern Art, Cinematek, and EYE Film Institute Netherlands. [5]

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>The Smiling Lieutenant</i> 1931 film

The Smiling Lieutenant is a 1931 American pre-Code musical comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch, starring Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert and Miriam Hopkins, and released by Paramount Pictures.

Ernst Lubitsch German American actor, screenwriter, producer and film director

Ernst Lubitsch was a German-born American film director, producer, writer, and actor. His urbane comedies of manners gave him the reputation of being Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated director; as his prestige grew, his films were promoted as having "the Lubitsch touch". Among his best known works are Trouble in Paradise, Design for Living, Ninotchka, The Shop Around the Corner, To Be or Not to Be and Heaven Can Wait.

Pola Negri Polish actress and singer

Pola Negri was a Polish stage and film actress and singer. She achieved worldwide fame during the silent and golden eras of Hollywood and European film for her tragedienne and femme fatale roles and was acknowledged as a sex symbol.

<i>The Last Command</i> (1928 film) 1928 film

The Last Command is a 1928 silent film directed by Josef von Sternberg, and written by John F. Goodrich and Herman J. Mankiewicz from a story by Lajos Bíró. Star Emil Jannings won the first Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the 1929 ceremony for his performances in this film and The Way of All Flesh, the only year that multiple roles were considered. In 2006, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for the National Film Registry. The supporting cast includes Evelyn Brent and William Powell.

Edward Sheldon American dramatist

Edward Brewster (Ned) Sheldon was an American dramatist. His plays include Salvation Nell (1908) and Romance (1913), which was made into a motion picture with Greta Garbo.

Rod La Rocque American actor

Roderick Ross La Rocque was an American actor.

May McAvoy American actress (1899–1984)

May Irene McAvoy was an American actress who worked mainly during the silent-film era. Some of her major roles are Laura Pennington in The Enchanted Cottage, Esther in Ben-Hur, and Mary Dale in The Jazz Singer.

Hans Dreier was a German motion picture art director. He was Paramount Pictures' supervising art director from 1927 until his retirement in 1950, when he was succeeded by Hal Pereira.

Pauline Starke American actress

Pauline Starke was an American silent-film actress.

<i>A Royal Scandal</i> (1945 film) 1945 film by Otto Preminger, Ernst Lubitsch

A Royal Scandal, also known as Czarina, is a 1945 American comedy-drama film about the lovelife of Russian empress (czarina) Catherine the Great. It stars Tallulah Bankhead, Charles Coburn, Anne Baxter and William Eythe. The film was based on the play Die Zarin by Lajos Bíró and Melchior Lengyel.

<i>The Spanish Dancer</i> 1923 film by Herbert Brenon

The Spanish Dancer is a 1923 American silent costume epic starring Pola Negri as a gypsy fortune teller, Antonio Moreno as a romantic count, and Wallace Beery as the king of Spain. The film was directed by Herbert Brenon and also features a five-year-old Anne Shirley, appearing under the name "Dawn O'Day." The film survives today.

I Loved a Soldier is an unfinished 1936 American romantic-comedy-drama film directed by Henry Hathaway and produced by Paramount Pictures. It stars Marlene Dietrich, Charles Boyer, Walter Catlett, Lionel Stander, and Margaret Sullavan.

<i>A Woman of the World</i> 1925 film

A Woman of the World is a 1925 American silent comedy-drama film starring Pola Negri, directed by Mal St. Clair, produced by Famous Players-Lasky, and distributed by Paramount Pictures.

<i>Hotel Imperial</i> (1927 film) 1927 film

Hotel Imperial is a 1927 American silent war drama film directed by Mauritz Stiller and released by Paramount Pictures. The film is set in Austria-Hungary during World War I and starring Pola Negri as a hotel chambermaid. It is based on the 1917 Hungarian play of the same name by Lajos Bíró.

<i>Pola Negri: Life Is a Dream in Cinema</i> 2006 American film

Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema is a feature-length biographical documentary film by Polish-American director Mariusz Kotowski released in 2006. The film chronicles the life of Polish silent film actress Pola Negri, as told by those who knew her and those who have studied her life and films.

<i>Die Augen der Mumie Ma</i> 1918 film

Die Augen der Mumie Ma is a 1918 German silent film directed by Ernst Lubitsch. The film stars Pola Negri as Ma, Emil Jannings as Radu, and Harry Liedtke as Wendland. It was the first collaboration between Lubitsch and Negri, a pairing that would go on to make worldwide successes such as Carmen (1918), Madame DuBarry (1919), and Sumurun (1920).

<i>Carmen</i> (1918 film) 1918 film

Carmen is a 1918 German silent drama film directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Pola Negri, Harry Liedtke, and Leopold von Ledebur. It was based on the novella Carmen by Prosper Mérimée. Like Bizet's opera Carmen, this film only adapts the third part of Mérimée's novella and transforms the character of Don José at the beginning of the story from bandit on the run to honest man in love with his childhood sweetheart. The film was released with English intertitles in the United States in 1921 under the alternative title Gypsy Blood.

<i>The Flame</i> (1923 film) 1923 film

The Flame is a 1923 German silent drama film directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Pola Negri, Hermann Thimig and Alfred Abel. The film is based on a play by Hans Müller. In the United States it was released under the alternative title Montmartre. It was the last film Lubitsch made in Germany before emigrating to Hollywood where he directed his first American film Rosita for United Artists the same year.

East of Suez is a 1925 American silent drama film directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Pola Negri. It is based on a play, East of Suez (1922), by W. Somerset Maugham. The film was produced by Famous Players-Lasky and distributed by Paramount Pictures.

<i>The Carousel of Life</i> 1919 German film

The Carousel of Life is a 1919 German silent drama film directed by Georg Jacoby and starring Pola Negri, Harry Liedtke, and Reinhold Schünzel. In the United States, it is also known by the alternative title of The Last Payment. It is now considered to be a lost film.


  1. Progressive Silent Film List: Forbidden Paradise at
  2. The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1921-30 by The American Film Institute, c.1971
  3. The Czarina as produced on Broadway at The Empire Theatre, by Charles Frohman Inc.; January 31, 1922 to May 1922;
  4. Sewell, Charles S. (November 29, 1924). "Forbidden Paradise; Pola Negri Production Directed by Ernst Lubitsch Is Clever, Amusing and Delightful". The Moving Picture World. New York City: Chalmers Publishing Co. 71 (5): 448. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  5. Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Database: Forbidden Paradise