Theda Bara

A Biography of the Silent Screen Vamp, with a Filmography


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SKU: 9780786469185 Categories: , ,

About the Book

Despite being a mediocre actress with less than classic beauty, Theda Bara was one of Hollywood’s leading performers in the early years of cinema. Her success was mostly due to Fox Studio’s publicity: they made her a screen vamp and used her to titillate the public. And Theda Bara, ambitious and nearing 30 when she made her first film, enthusiastically played the role.
In real life, Theodosia Goodman bore little resemblance to the vampish Theda Bara character. But the studio-created persona, with the invented name, evil personality and fictional history, was a major star. Though her films were often trite, poorly acted, extravagant and crude, the public packed movie houses. But her film career ended once the public tired of the persona. Through contemporary newspaper accounts, film reviews, interviews and other sources, this is a comprehensive account of the life and times of one of Hollywood’s first female stars.

About the Author(s)

Ronald Genini is a retired high school history teacher living in Fresno, California.

Bibliographic Details

Ronald Genini
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 168
Bibliographic Info: 43 photos, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [1996]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6918-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9161-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      vii

1. A Nice Jewish Girl from Cincinnati      1
2. Dyed Hair, Painted Faces and Hollywood      7
3. Theodosia Becomes Theda; Woman Becomes Vampire      13
4. A Fool There Was      21
5. A Film a Month      27
6. The Reel Vampire, the Real Theda      53
7. The Vampire: Desired and Despised      63
8. The Vamp’s Influence Sells War Bonds and Sex      71
9. Vamped to Death      79
10. Wedding Bells and Career Death Knells      87
11. Bara, Brabin and Beverly Hills      101
12. Other Starts, No Finishes      111
13. Inactive but Not Forgotten      117
14. A “Notable Woman”      123

Stage and Screen Appearances      127
Bibliography      137
Index      151

Book Reviews & Awards

“carefully researched…unravels the fascinating trajectory of this cinematic vamp…. A useful volume in silent American film”—Choice; “revealing the real woman behind the dark persona”—Filmfax; “[a] superb biography…reveals much about important figures in the history of movies…a definitive work of reference—highly recommended”—The Other Side of Show Business.