My latest video - - which should enchant and enthrall you......and help you forget my previous post.
Theda Bara (1885 - 1955)
Hollywood's first official sex symbol. Vamp. Femme fatale. Seductress. Wanton woman.
The publicity department at Fox Studios went overboard to promote Theda's forbidden allure and devious intent. They claimed she was born in the Sahara - the daughter of an Arab Sheik and a French actress. She was raised in the shadow of a pyramid and her name was an anagram for Arab Death. She was known as the Serpent of the Nile.
There were unusual restrictions in her movie contract, intended to increase her aura of mystery: she could only go out after dark. Her face had to be veiled. She must perpetuate an interest in mysticism and the occult.
The truth was much less intoxicating than the myth. Theda Bara was in fact Theodosia Goodman, a Jewish girl from Cincinnati, Ohio. Her parents were of Polish and Swiss descent.
During her career, Theda Bara made over forty films. She became Fox Studio's biggest star and at the height of her popularity (between 1915 - 1919) earned over $4,000 a week.
Her first films, starting in 1914, were made on the east coast at Fox Studios in Ft. Lee, New Jersey. She moved to California in 1917, when Fox decided to feature her in the epic Hollywood film Cleopatra.
Unfortunately, Theda Bara's acting ability and on-screen allure can never be fully critiqued or appreciated, because almost all of her films are lost. They were destroyed in a 1937 fire at the Fox film archives in New Jersey. To date, only six of her films have survived (none of which were her most popular).
The titles of some of her best films are an indication of the delectably devious characters she portrayed:
Destruction (1915), Sin (1915), The Devil's Daughter (1915), The Serpent (1916), The Rose of Blood (1917), The She-Devil (1918).
Tired of being typecast as a vamp, and never really comfortable with her sexually-charged fabricated image, Theda left Fox in 1919. She only made a few more films before retiring in 1926.
Perhaps the biggest secret about Theda Bara is that, in her personal life, she was a virtuous woman - a genuine Miss Goody Two Shoes. There were never any scandals connected with her, and she was never a part of the seedy Hollywood scene.
She married film director Charles Brabin in 1921 and, after her retirement, they moved out of California and lived a quiet life. Theda Bara never had any children. She died of cancer at age 69 in 1955.
video best viewed full-screen
I wanted the music to be hauntingly bizarre, so I chose a composition by Erik Satie.