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Theda Bara - Forgotten Movie Star Theda Bara is a largely forgotten movie star for two reasons: Her career ended in 1926 so she did not make a single sound film, and most of her 40 feature films were lost in a 1937 studio vault fire. Although she was born in Cincinnati in 1885, studio publicists tried to make her ancestry more exotic than it really was. At one point Bara was listed as being born in a Middle Eastern desert to French and Arabian parents. Bara's faux first name was either a childhood nickname or an anagram of the word 'death'--depending on which fan magazine you read. Her birth name was Theodosia Burr Goodman. Be that as it may, Bara became very famous for her portrayal of Cleopatra in a 1917 feature film. She wore a risque costume and described herself as a 'vamp'--an abbreviation of the word vampire. Only a few seconds of her breakthrough performance survives. She declared she would continue playing vamps 'as long as people sin.' After getting married in 1921, Bara only made two more films before retiring five years later. She died of stomach cancer in 1955 at age 69. Only four of her films are known to exist.
Tags: Theda  Bara  silent  films  star  vamp  Cleopatra 
Added: 23rd June 2015
Views: 1412
Posted By: Lava1964
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2015-06-22 
I am hopeful that some of Bara's films will eventually turn up in private collections. Quite a few so-called missing films have be discovered in far-flung locales in recent years.
Posted by: Classico on 2015-06-25 
I have read or read that something like 90% of all silent movies are either lost or unaccounted for in some way. That, indeed, many of these are in someone's vault whether in a private home or college or warehouse. Let's hope that some day soon many of them will be found and publicly displayed.
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2015-06-26 
I posted a similar comment somewhere on this site; I think it was about Charlie Chaplin's one missing film. I had read that about 50 percent of all American feature films made before 1950 were missing. That total includes at least one Oscar-winning film. There are two main reasons. Pre-1950 film was usually nitrate-based. Nitrate disintegrates over time. Archivists who open old film cans are often sadly met with powder or a pile of goo--the remnants of an old film. Another reason films are lost is that distributors weren't all that keen on retrieving and storing films once they had made the rounds throughout the cinemas. That's why some of the wonderful recent finds have been in places at the end of the line, such as Alaska and New Zealand. Apparently France ought to be a hot spot for finding old films form the WWI era. The US Army sent films oversees to amuse the troops. They were often forgotten or discarded. It is thought (or hoped) that collectors scooped many of them up. Every silent film is a treasure.
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