Bella Donna
Lobby card with Pola Negri and Adolphe Menjou
Directed byGeorge Fitzmaurice
Written byOuida Bergère (scenario)
Based onBella Donna (novel)
by Robert Smythe Hichens
Bella Donna (play)
by James Bernard Fagan
Produced byAdolph Zukor
Jesse L. Lasky
StarringPola Negri
CinematographyArthur C. Miller
Music bysong "Bella Donna"
Ted Snyder (music)
Harry B. Smith (lyrics)
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • April 1, 1923 (1923-04-01)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)
Pola Negri
Pola Negri

Bella Donna is a 1923 American silent film produced by Famous Players-Lasky and released by Paramount Pictures. The film is based on the 1909 novel, Bella Donna, by Robert Smythe Hichens which was later adapted for a 1912 Broadway play starring Alla Nazimova. This film is also a remake of the 1915 Paramount film Bella Donna starring Pauline Frederick. The 1923 film was directed by George Fitzmaurice and starred Pola Negri in her first American film.[1][2]


Bella Donna, a seductive woman snares Nigel Armine into marriage and he takes her to Egypt to live. Tired of her simple husband, Bella becomes involved with brutish Baroudi.



"Bella Donna (Beautiful Lady)" by Harry B. Smith, Arthur M. Brilant (words) and Ted Snyder.[citation needed]

Phonofilm version

Reportedly the film played with sound provided by the De Forest Phonofilm sound-on-film process. This was probably music and sound effects but no dialogue, and was only at the April 1, 1923 premiere at the Rivoli Theatre in New York City.

Paramount also premiered The Covered Wagon in New York City on March 16, 1923. All or about two reels of The Covered Wagon had a music track recorded in the Phonofilm process, but was only shown this way at the premiere at the Rivoli Theater in New York City.[3] On April 15, 1923, Lee de Forest presented a program of 18 short films made in the Phonofilm process, also at the Rivoli Theater.

Preservation status

A print is reportedly held at the Gosfilmofond Archive in Moscow.[4][5]

Further reading


  1. ^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1921-30 c.1971 by The American Film Institute
  2. ^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films: Bella Donna
  3. ^ Progressive Silent Film List: The Covered Wagon at
  4. ^ "Bella Donna".
  5. ^ The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: Bella Donna