in about 100 words or less
US 50m, B&W, silent
Director: Bertram Bracken; Cast: Theda Bara, James Cooley, Walter Lewis, Hattie Delaro, Einar Linden, Mary Martin, Kittens Reichert, George MacQuarrie, Warner Oland, Frank Norcross, Caroline Harris
As with most of Theda Bara’s work, The Eternal Sapho is unfortunately a lost film. A controversial drama in its day, Bara plays a notorious vamp whose plans for her married lover go awry. Filled with scenes of “impropriety”, it was reported in Moving Picture World (1916) that the Minneapolis Board of Censors banned this film to “protect both the young and the unintelligent spectators” (p.1733). Of note, Theda Bara’s skirts which were described as “commercially exaggerated” – and though I’m not quite sure what that means, other objectionable scenes included drunkenness, and a married man’s clandestine affair – Oh my! Though they admittedly stated that “No really intelligent person is likely to be led astray by this film”, a Cincinnati theatre manager was “taken from his bed at midnight’ (p.1727) and placed under arrest based on a warrant that charged him with exhibiting Sapho without the eliminations ordered by the Ohio Board of Censors (Klaus Ming June 2016).