That old theatrical war-horse Bella Donna (previously filmed in America by Alla Nazimova) was resurrected by Britain's Twickenham Studios in 1934. Conrad Veidt stars as sinister Egyptian Mahmoud Baroundi, who even before the film gets under way has left a long trail of ruined women behind him. His latest victim is American girl Mona Chepstow (Mary Ellis), whom Baroundi treats like dirt and makes her like it. The plot centers around a murder by poison, as evidenced by the film's deliberately exotic title. Critics in 1934 praised newcomer Mary Ellis for underplaying her role, but many film fans preferred Nazimova's arm-waving histrionics in the earlier version.
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