Theme Month! October 2017: In the Shadow of the Sphinx

October marks the 100th anniversary of 1917’s biggest picture: Theda Bara’s Cleopatra. It is also one of the most famously lost silent films; only a few seconds of footage survive.

Fragment of “Cleopatra” (1917)

Undeterred, I have decided to celebrate the film and Theda Bara’s legacy by reviewing other silent films with an Egyptian theme. These films range from throbbing melodramas to slapstick comedies but they all have one thing in common: a connection to Egypt.

(Alas, I could not obtain any silents made in Egypt itself. Do let me know if you are aware of any that are available for viewing.)

Naturally, we will also be having discussions of Orientalism and other fascinating side-topics.

As a special added bonus, I will be sharing the story of someone who was likely the last person to see Cleopatra before it was lost in a fire. Ooo! Mystery!


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  1. Maria B

    Hey Fritzi – first let me say thankyou for your site. I enjoy your work a great deal. Can I be honest with you (and please do not get mad)? As a youngin’, my exposure to Hollywood (especially ‘Silent’ pictures) was via Kenneth Angers ‘Hollywood Babylon’. I was hooked. At first it was all about the scandals etc and I devoured all of that. Keep in mind, this was waaaay before the Internetz:)

    I recall this because I had read about the incomparable Ms Bara in that very book.

    Amazing how certain things trigger of memories, isn’ it?:)

    And btw, I would wear the outfit like there was no tomorrow:)

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