Ode to Theda (4/5) by tabbycat

Ode to Theda (4/5)

Theda Bara, born Theodosia Burr Goodman in 1885, was an American silent film actress – one of the most popular of her era, and one of cinema's earliest sex symbols. Her femme fatale roles earned her the nickname "The Vamp" (short for vampire). The term "vamp" soon became a popular slang term for a sexually predatory woman. After attending the University of Cincinnati for two years, she worked in theater productions mainly but did explore other projects, moving to New York City in 1908. She made her Broadway debut in The Devil (1908). Theda Bara made more than 40 films between 1914 and 1926, but complete prints of only six still exist. This is due to a fire at Fox studios, which destroyed all but six of her films.

At the height of her fame, Bara was making $4,000 per week. She was one of the most popular movie stars, ranking behind only Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford. Bara's best-known roles were as the "vamp", although she attempted to avoid typecasting by playing wholesome heroines in films such as Under Two Flags and Her Double Life. She also appeared as Juliet in a version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Although Bara took her craft seriously, she was too successful as an exotic "wanton woman" to develop a more versatile career. Bara is often cited as the first sex symbol of the movies. She was well known for wearing very revealing costumes in her films, which could still be considered risqué by today's standards, more than 90 years later.

It was popular at that time to promote an actress as mysterious, with an exotic background. The studios promoted Bara with a massive publicity campaign, billing her as the Egyptian-born daughter of a French actress and an Italian sculptor. They claimed she had spent her early years in the Sahara Desert under the shadow of the Sphinx, then moved to France to become a stage actress. (In fact, Bara had never been to Egypt or France). They called her the "Serpent of the Nile" and encouraged Bara to discuss mysticism and the occult in interviews.

Bara died of stomach cancer in 1955 in Los Angeles, California, but still lives on in the hearts and minds of many who remember her as the original Hollywood sex symbol, and a woman who cared nothing for what society thought of her, but instead was brave enough to be truly, and scandalously her authentic self. For that, she is one of my personal heroes!
Fantastic edit!
December 14th, 2011  
Another fantastic shot, she sounds like she was my kinda woman. fav
December 14th, 2011  
Wow...this is a very powerful image Tabitha. What a great transformation. Well done!
December 15th, 2011  
Wow. Lovely - interesting.
December 15th, 2011  
love the darkness to this image...nicely done :)
December 15th, 2011  
Cool shot and very interesting
December 15th, 2011  
Very nicely done.
December 15th, 2011  
This is a fantastic portrait and editing, fitting very well with the silent film time
December 15th, 2011  
This is awesome, mysterious with exotic background -kinda shot
December 15th, 2011  
Incredible!
December 15th, 2011  
i love the write-up. awesome job telling her story in word and photo!
December 16th, 2011  
Such bizarre spins they gave all those actors. This turned out really beautiful
December 17th, 2011  
@jasehoad Thanks for all the faves, dude! I've been trying to get back on the PP for about 6 months now, but to no avail :-(
December 17th, 2011  
@tabbycat The PP is a complete and utter mystery to me so I wouldn't sweat it. If your photo's make you happy then they have done their job, and if one other person likes them that's a bonus. That's the way I look at it anyway's and some of yours have given me a lot of pleasure :)
December 17th, 2011  
@jasehoad It's a mystery to me too! I was on there 3 times in my first few months on here, shooting with a cruddy P&S and no skills at all, now that I have a decent camera and I'm getting better (well, I think so anyway!) it has eluded me for the longest time! I suspect it's a bit of a popularity contest though, 'cause I think the pics with the most faves then go to the magic monkeys for choosing, so the more followers you have, the more PP likely you are! I could be wrong about this of course!
December 18th, 2011  
Beautiful selfie :D
December 18th, 2011  
fantastic lighting and processing! You really captured the era!!!
December 22nd, 2011  
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