Anna Sten

At the 31st Pordenone Silent Film Festival, we’ll get a feeling for why Samuel Goldwyn brought Anna Sten to America.  He saw a major star in her after seeing her Soviet and German films.  But although a great beauty,  Sten never quite conquered American cinema the way Greta Garbo did.  The Pordenone festival plans to illuminate her by featuring a program called “The Silent Films of Anna Sten.”

Anna Sten in “Agent Provocateur” (1927).

The Anna Sten silent film list from the festival includes the following:

  • DEVUSHKA S KOROBKOI [The Girl with the Hatbox] (Mezhrabpom-Rus, USSR 1927; dir.: Boris Barnet)
  • ZEMLYA V PLENU (The Yellow Ticket) [Earth in Chains] (Mezhrabpom-Rus, USSR 1928; dir.: Fedor Otsep)
  • PROVOKATOR [Agent Provocateur] (VUFKU, Yalta, USSR 1927; dir.: Viktor Turin)
  • MOY SYN [My Son] (Sovkino, Leningrad, USSR 1928; dir.: Yevgenii Chervyakov
  • BELYJ ORYOL [The White Eagle/The Governor] (Mezhrabpomfilm, USSR 1928; dir: Yakov Protazanov)
  • TORGOVZY SLAVOJ [Merchants of Glory] (Mezhrabpomfilm, USSR 1929; dir.: Leonid Obolensky)
  • LOHNBUCHHALTER KREMKE [Payroll Accountant Kremke] (DE 1930; dir: Marie Harder)
  • STÜRME DER LEIDENSCHAFT (Tempest) (Ufa, Berlin, DE 1931; dir: Robert Siodmak)

Sten, born in the Ukraine, made her first film for Goldwyn, “Nana,” in 1934.  Her career lasted until 1962, when she made her last film, “The Nun and the Sergeant.”  In addition to her early film fame, there’s nothing like getting immortalized in a Cole Porter song.  The lyrics for Porter’s “Anything Goes” say, “If Sam Goldwyn can with great conviction instruct Anna Sten in diction, then Anna shows anything goes.”

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