Sunday, August 11, 2013

Silent Film Star Theda Bara with Skeleton, 1915; Publicity Still from the "A Fool There Was" Based on Rudyard Kipling's "The Vampire"

Silent film star Theda Bara, "The first vamp." (1885-1955) in a publicity still for the 1915 film A Fool There Was. This film was based on Rudyard Kipling's 1897 poem "The Vampire" which explores the popular fin de siècle trope of the destructive allure of the femme fatale or "vampire;" You can read the poem in its entirety by clicking here. A Jewess from Ohio, Bara's real name was Theodosia Burr Goodman; as explained by IMDB:
According to the studio biography Theda Bara (anagram of "Arab Death") was born in the Sahara to a French artiste and his Egyptian concubine and possessed supernatural powers. In fact, her father was a Cincinnati tailor. By 1908 she appeared in Broadway's "The Devil" named Theodosia de Coppett. In 1914 she met Frank Powell who cast her as The Vampire in A Fool There Was (1915), the role from which we have the word "vamp" -- a woman who saps the last sexual energies from middle-aged respectable men, no more than slaves crawling at her feet. In some of her publicity photos all that remains of her devoured victims are their skeletons before her on the floor. Most of these period parts (Salome (1918), Cleopatra (1917), Camille (1917)) were filmed from 1915 to 1919.
Image from The Secret Life of Anna Blanc- mystery, murder, and romance in 1900s L.A. Thank you Eve Marie Bordoli-Brown for sending this image my way!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can see the movie at