A Fool There Was (1915 film)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
A Fool There Was is a 1915 silent film starring Theda Bara, one of the first sex symbols of the early 20th century. Bara plays a vamp who uses her charms to seduce and corrupt a moral Wall Street lawyer, John Schuyler (Edward Jose). A Fool There Was was long considered controversial for such risqué title cards as "Kiss me, my fool!"
A Fool There Was was based on a play by Porter Emerson Browne, in turned based on Rudyard Kipling's poem The Vampire. The producers were keen to pay tribute to their literary source, having a real actor read the full poem to the audience before each initial showing, and presenting passages of the poem throughout the film in intertitles. Bara's official credit is even "The Vampire"; for this reason the film is sometimes cited as the first "vampire" movie.
A Fool There Was was also a watershed in early film publicity. At a press conference in January the studio gave an elaborate fictional biography of her, making her an exotic Arabian actress, and presented her in a flamboyant fur outfit. Then they made an intentional leak to the press that the whole thing was a hoax. This may have been one of Hollywood's first publicity stunts.