Bella Donna (1934)


Personal opinion: For many years, “Bella Donna” was considered a lost film, until some footage was found at the Czech Film Archive. Even if large parts of this interesting film are missing, we could always enjoy Conrad’s performance. He plays here the role of the evil Egyptian Mahmoud Baroudi, who pursues a married woman, manipulating her to fall so desperately in love with him, that she would try to kill her husband. The exotic film sets and the actors’ costumes are wonderful, even if one would notice the changes in Connie’s skin colour – sometimes is white, other times is dark brown. Seeing Connie in a harem and treating badly so many people with a smile on his face is not really the kind of role that pleases me, but it was certainly a challenge to him. It was also quite unusual to see him kissing passionately his co-star (Mary Ellis, an opera singer in real life), knowing that Connie always knew how to keep a distance on- and off-screen when it came to romantic liaisons. All in all, I recommend “Bella Donna”, just for the pride and joy of any of Conrad’s fans to see another cinematic jewel of his that was miraculously brought to surface, after many years of expectations.


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