Bella Donna (1915)

Pauline Frederick in BELLADONNA (1915)

Caption: "I'm going back to Baroudi!"

Pauline Frederick and Thomas Holding

Strand Theatre Program


In "Bella Donna," the photoplay adaption of Robert Hichens' and J. B. Fagan's celebrated novel and play in which beautiful Pauline Frederick is being starred by the Famous Players Film Company, the woman who scored such a marvelous triumph as "Zaza," far exceeds her previous performance in the presentation of this wily, serpent-like viper who poisons the one man who has tried to lift her from the depths to which she has sunk. The rols of "Bella Donna" is perhaps the greatest test to which any actress can be submitted, for she must be hateful, cruel, savage, treacherous, and at the same time she must be so fascinating that she will grip and hold the attention of her audience throughout the performance. And, still more difficult, she must win the sympathy of her audience sufficiently toward the end of her story to make her final punishment, however just, seem cruelly tragic.

This is the well-nigh impossible feat which this marvelous woman, whose silent work in "Zaza" was pronounced by the metropolitan critics to be far superior to that of Mrs. Leslie Carter in the greatest role of her career, has performed in "Bella Donna." No one who saw Miss Frederick in her brillliant characterization of "Innocent" in the play of that name will wonder at her powerful interpretation of "Bella Donna." In the stage play she showed marvelous understanding of the woman of elemental passions whose compelling personality brooks no restraint from any source. "Bella Donna" adds to these mastering passions the unprincipled cruelty and treachery of the thrououghly bad woman, whose only redeeming feature is her striking beauty. Yet her very pulchritude is suggestive of the sinuous magnetism of the creature of prey.

Without a woman of Miss Frederick's tremendous personal attractiveness to play the part of Bella Donna, the play would depend chiefly upon its atmosphere for interest. Though the mysticism of the Orient, its subtlety and its luxury have been caught in the wonderful tropical settings which form the background for this tragedy, these have been held subsequent to the drama itself.

Bella Donna, a London adventuress, lures the Hon. Nigel Armine into marrying her in the hope of saving her from the gossip of the capital. He takes her to Egypt, where she becomes infatuated with a powerful native, Baroudi, who persuades her to poison her husband. This she does, but as he becomes gradually weaker and weaker from the effects of the drug, Isaacson arrives and discovers her treachery in time to save the husband's life. Driven to hate Armine and foiled in her attempt to kill him, Bella Donna finally tells him the truth in a burst of uncontrollable fury.  Then she goes to Baroudi, who now discards her as being too dangerous. Stunned, she returns to her home, only to be turned away by Dr. Isaacson, who sends her out into the black desert and -- what?

with Pauline Frederick . Directed by Hugh Ford and Edwin S. Porter. Famous Players/Paramount.

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Strand Theatre program featuring BELLA DONNA(1915)

Public Domain Mark
This work (Bella Donna (1915), by Paramount), identified by Bruce Calvert, is free of known copyright restrictions.



Last Modified May 21, 2012