Starring Pola Negri, Charles Emmett Mack, Holmes Herbert, Blanche Mehaffey, Chester Conklin
Directed by Malcom St. Clair
Runtime: 70 min.
Print Quality: B
This sophisticated and well-made comedy-drama was one of Pola Negri's best vehicles for Paramount. More often than not, the studio seemed at a loss with what to do with the exotic European star. By placing her in the completely incongruous setting of a small American town (and having Malcolm St. Clair as director), the company created something novel and fun. Because her love affair has gone bad, Italian Countess Elnora Natatorini (Negri) decides to visit a cousin in America, Sam Poore (Chester Conklin). The townsfolk of Maple Valley have never seen a Countess before and her stylish and slightly decadent demeanor alternately delights and shocks them. Country boy Gareth Johns (Charles Emmett Mack) becomes hopelessly infatuated with her. But there is real love between the Countess and district attorney Richard Granger (Holmes Herbert). Granger, however, is a bit of a stuffed shirt, and when he believes that the Countess prefers Johns over him, he denounces her and demands that she be run out of town. The Countess' dilemma is solved when one of the women hands her a horsewhip and tells her to use it on Granger. She does, and it works wonders; in only a few feet of film, the Countess and Granger are headed for the altar. This film was based on the novel The Tattooed Countess by Carl Van Vechten.