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Published on May 22, 2010
`A Fool There Was (1914) is the film that made Theda Bara a star, creating the term `vamp to describe a hypnotically alluring woman, and coining the now famous quote: `Kiss me, my fool! (often misquoted as `Kiss me, you fool).
Theda plays a heedless homewrecker - credited only as `The Vampire - who casually destroys the marriage of a successful diplomatic who seems powerless to escape her.
It was based on a successful stage play, which itself was based on an 1897 poem by Rudyard Kipling, which began:
A fool there was and he made his prayer (Even as you or I!) To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair, (We called her the woman who did not care), But the fool he called her his lady fair— (Even as you or I!)
The poem, and the idea of the Vamp, originate from an era where there was a growing anxiety about the position of women in society, when questions over whether women had a right to higher education, to vote, to divorce, or even to smoke, were highly controversial.
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