(Don’t) Watch: Cleopatra (1917)

Posted by Brandy Dean October 14, 2012 1 Comment 4818 views

Cleopatra, starring the sexy and mysterious Theda Bara, was released on October 14, 1917. It was the most popular movie of 1917 by a landslide. The public was intrigued and infatuated with The Vamp. The studio worked overtime to promote her mystical image.

So let’s watch Cleopatra now, right? Wrong. It’s lost, gone – it’s dead, Jim. First Cleopatra got slapped with an obscene label post Hays Code, and the last two prints were lost in fires at the Fox studios and at the Museum of Modern Art. What’s left are a few fragments in various private libraries and a slew of still images, which I believe are mostly publicity stills and not production stills.

Theda Bara’s fame was fleeting. She was more a fad than a star. I expound on this at some length in my review of A Fool There Was, but the point here is that the Cleopatra that lives on in legend might actually be far better than the lost one silent film fans pine for. Of course, that’s pure speculation and we’ll never know. Enjoy these saucy photos of Theda and this surviving fragment.

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About Brandy Dean

Social media consultant, blogger for hire, and lover of classic movies and silent films.

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There is 1 Comment

  1. - May 6, 2013
      -   Reply

    Such a shame…incredibly lavish sets and some saucy looking costumes (or lack thereof). As so much of our cinematic history is defined by code-era films, its always interesting to see pre-code works showing that people back in the day could be risqué with the best of ‘em.

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