Watch The Wildcat
- 1 hr 19 min
The Wildcat is a silent film from 1921 directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Pola Negri, Victor Janson, and Paul Heidemann. The film is set in a small town in western Europe and centers around three main characters: the town's mayor, the wealthy young landowner, and the charismatic thief known as "The Wildcat." The film opens with a scene of the mayor and the landowner attending a grand ball at the local castle. The Wildcat, who is notorious for robbing the wealthy residents of the town, also attends the ball in disguise. She catches the eye of the landowner and they share a dance. However, the mayor recognizes her and tries to arrest her. In the ensuing chaos, the Wildcat escapes and the landowner is left wondering who she really is.
The Wildcat later comes across the landowner's estate and decides to rob it. However, she is caught by the landowner and they strike up a deal: she will return the stolen goods if he helps her take revenge on the mayor, who she blames for the death of her father. The landowner agrees, and they hatch a plan to kidnap the mayor's daughter in order to blackmail him.
As the plan unfolds, the Wildcat and the landowner develop a mutual attraction that complicates matters. Meanwhile, the mayor, desperate to get his daughter back, enlists the help of a group of soldiers to track down the kidnappers. The final act of the film features a thrilling chase through the mountains as the Wildcat and the landowner try to escape with their lives.
The Wildcat is a beautifully crafted film that showcases Lubitsch's signature blend of humor, romance, and suspense. Pola Negri gives a standout performance as the titular character, exuding both charm and vulnerability. The film also boasts impressive cinematography, particularly in the stunning mountain scenery.
In addition to its entertainment value, The Wildcat is notable for its subversive commentary on class and gender. The film presents the Wildcat as a strong-willed and independent woman who defies traditional gender roles. She is resourceful, cunning, and unafraid to take risks in order to achieve her goals. Meanwhile, the landowner is portrayed as weak and ineffectual, reliant on the Wildcat for guidance.
The Wildcat has been praised for its pioneering use of the Lubitsch touch, a term coined to describe his unique style of sophisticated comedy. The film's clever use of visual humor, subtle innuendo, and intricate plot twists would become trademarks of Lubitsch's later work. The Wildcat is a classic of early Hollywood and a must-see for fans of silent cinema.