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A Fool There Was1915

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  • 3.5
Theda Bara plays the "Vampire," a cunning woman who uses her irresistible charms to seduce and abandon a series of influential men. When one lover commits suicide on the deck of a luxury liner, she merely turns her gaze to another passenger, John Schuyler (Edward José), and leads him down a path to moral degradation and public scorn. Schuyler's wife (Mabel Frenyear) never gives up hope for her husband's redemption but has severely underestimated the hypnotic power the Vampire has upon her victims.

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Member Reviews (4)

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top reviewer

Given my lack of full understanding of the social mores of the time, I had trouble with the structure of the film. The parts played be others than the main couple, remained blurred for me. I was amazed at how little dialog/comments were necessary to kind of keep track of the plot, but I would have appreciated more. The film declares that the fool got what he deserved, despite the love and concern of his family.

That seems too simplistic. People make choices and harvest their consequences. It is a sad film. I cannot fathom why it and forty more were welcomed as entertainment.

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top reviewer

Sex and scandal, 1915-style. What survives after a hundred years since this film's making is a likable whiff of naughtiness to its stodgy, stagey production. It accents the seedy elements of the story of a solid family man who goes on a business trip, starts up an affair with an evil-eyed woman and then winds up a ruined wretch for his sins. It ends up as high melodrama, entertainingly tasteless and overblown. It's the earliest surviving artifact of raven-haired Theda Bara's "vampire" roles. In 1915-speak, "vampire" means a woman who seduces men and takes them for everything they've got. She's the embodiment here of every hateful vision that a man has for a woman after a nasty break-up, as well as the culmination of a wife's take on some cow who's trying to steal her husband. The part made Theda Bara a star. Adapted from a play by Porter Emerson Browne.

Slow and soapy, with only Theda Bara breathing some passion into it. All the other performers are brittle puppets.

A real classic!