Barbed Wire (1927 film)

Barbed Wire is a 1927 American silent romance film set in World War I. It stars Pola Negri as a French farmgirl and Clive Brook as the German prisoner of war she falls in love with. The film was based on the novel The Woman of Knockaloe by Hall Caine.[1] Unlike the original novel, which is set at the Knockaloe internment camp in the Isle of Man, the film takes place in Normandy, France. Some plot alterations were made in the adaptation, including most importantly the insertion of a happy ending.[2]

Barbed Wire
Lobby card
Directed byRowland V. Lee
Mauritz Stiller (uncredited)
Produced byRowland V. Lee
Erich Pommer
Jesse L. Lasky
Written byRowland V. Lee (adaptation)
Jules Furthman
Based onThe Woman of Knockaloe
by Hall Caine
StarringPola Negri
Clive Brook
CinematographyBert Glennon
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • September 10, 1927 (1927-09-10)
Running time
7 reels (67-79 minutes)
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)



Despite the central peaceful message of both the film and the novel, the British audience reacted to the film with an upsurge of anti-German sentiment. Incensed by this, Hall Caine wrote to The Sunday Times objecting to the ‘monstrous’ and ‘malicious’ misrepresentation by ‘certain sections of the press’, which described the plot as ‘pro-German’.[3]


  1. Barbed Wire at the database
  2. Andrew Kelly, Cinema and the Great War, Routledge, 1996
  3. ‘Forgotten Prisoners of the Great war’ by Panikos Panayi, in History Today, Volume: 62 Issue: 11 2012

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