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A Fool There Was (1915).

September 14, 2007

The Scoop:
Theda Bara was the first of the silver screen’s sex goddesses, and this is the film that launched her reputation. In fact, the word “vamp” was invented specifically by the studio (the Willam Fox Vaudeville Company, the ancestor of today’s Fox Film Corporation) to describe her in this role.

The plot and script are conventional for the era — a loose women tempts then ruins a series of wealthy men — and it can be rough slogging for the modern viewer. But Bara’s performance alone makes it memorable and worth watching today. It would be nothing without her. Every celebrity sex symbol and every movie vixen to come after owes a major debt to Theda.

Best Line:
“Kiss me, my Fool!”

Side Note:
The lack of preservation of early films has really taken its toll on the work of Theda Bara — she was the biggest star of her time, but the only other feature films of hers that still exist in their entirety are her pre-fame “The Stain” (1914) and “The Unchastened Woman” (1925), which was made on the downside of her career.

Companion Viewing:
“It” (1926) and “Pandora’s Box” (1929).


Take a Look:
You can see the film in its entirety on YouTube:

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