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A Fool There Was (1915)

Not Rated | | Drama | 12 January 1915 (USA)
A married diplomat falls hopelessly under the spell of a predatory woman.

Director:

Frank Powell (uncredited)

Writer:

Porter Emerson Browne (by) (as Porter Emerson Brown)
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Runa Hodges ... The Child
Mabel Frenyear Mabel Frenyear ... The Wife
Edward José Edward José ... John Schuyler - The Husband
May Allison ... The Wife's Sister
Clifford Bruce ... The Friend
Theda Bara ... The Vampire
Victor Benoit Victor Benoit ... Reginald Parmalee - One of the Vampire's Victims
Frank Powell ... The Doctor
Minna Gale Minna Gale ... The Doctor's Fiancee
Creighton Hale ... Minor Role
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Storyline

John Schuyler, happily married Wall Street lawyer, is appointed as special diplomatic representative to England. By an unhappy accident, his wife and child can't come along; but on the ship with him is "The Vampire," a "notorious woman" who lives off a succession of men she has seduced and ruined. Slighted by Mrs. Schuyler, she has set her sights on the husband. Two months later, we find the Fool languishing with the mistress who has him enmeshed in her toils. Will he follow the others to the depths of degradation? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 January 1915 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Fool There Was See more »

Filming Locations:

New York Harbor, US See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of only a handful of Theda Bara films that still exist, the others being The Unchastened Woman (1925), The Stain (1914), East Lynne (1916), and two short comedies she made for Hal Roach in the mid-1920s. See more »

Goofs

During the "sunset of happiness" shot, the ocean waves are going in reverse, showing the film has been run backwards. See more »

Quotes

Second Victim: [to Parmalee] Look what she as done to me. Look what she's doing to you!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Shooting the Hollywood Stars (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting Melodrama Despite Its Imperfections
2 September 2004 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

There's no question about its imperfections, but "A Fool There Was" is still an interesting melodrama, and it also looks better when considered in the context of its era. The pacing and storytelling are often uneven, but they are not too bad for a time when everyone was still learning how to tell a feature-length story on film. Theda Bara's performance is sometimes exaggerated, but it also contains some very effective moments, and it's not hard to see why she was something of a phenomenon for a time.

The story is relatively simple, with Bara as a 'vamp' who enters the lives of a respected statesman and his family. In general, the story works rather well, resisting the temptation to resort to anything forced or showy. It's driven solely by the strange power that Bara's character can acquire over good-natured but weak-willed males. Similar stories have been used in recent movies, but usually with the addition of a lot of extraneous or indecent material that adds nothing of genuine value.

To be sure, only someone who already enjoys silent movies will be interested in this one. Within just a few years, film-makers would learn many better and more efficient ways of setting up and telling a lengthy story. Bara is also the only performer here whose performance is of particular interest. But there is more than enough here to make it worth seeing if you like the silents.


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