AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Director: J. Gordon Edwards (Dir)
Release Date:   Aug 1918
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Theda Bara (Salome)  
    G. Raymond Nye (King Herod)  
    Albert Roscoe (John the Baptist)  
    Herbert Heyes (Sejanus)  
    Bertram Grassby (Prince David)  
    Genevieve Blinn (Queen Miriam)  
    Vera Doria (Naomi)  
    Alfred Fremont (Galba)  

Summary: Herod, the tyrannical king of Judea and usurper of the Hycranian dynasty, marries Miriam, the sister of the rightful heir to the throne, Prince David. Herod's beautiful but treacherous cousin Salome convinces him to bestow the powerful office of high priest on David in order to placate the Judeans, but later she secretly commissions Sejanus, who is in love with her, to drown the prince. After Salome persuades Herod that Miriam is trying to kill him, the queen, too, loses her life. John the Baptist enters Judea and publicly denounces Herod's court, whereupon Salome, her curiosity aroused, visits him in the desert and unsuccessfully attempts to seduce him. During his imprisonment, the holy man again rejects her advances, and she vows to destroy him. At Herod's birthday feast, Salome performs a sensuous dance and asks for John the Baptist's head as a reward. As she kisses his lifeless lips, a fierce storm arises, and Herod, terrified, orders Salome's immediate execution. 

Production Company: Fox Film Corp.; A Fox Special Production  
Distribution Company: Fox Film Corp.  
Director: J. Gordon Edwards (Dir)
Producer: William Fox (Pres)
Writer: Adrian Johnson (Scen)
Photography: George Schneiderman (Cam)
  John W. Boyle (Cam)
  Harry Gerstad (Cam)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the book The Jewish Antiquities by Flavius Josephus (93-94 A.D.).
Authors: Flavius Josephus

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
William Fox 10/8/1918 dd/mm/yyyy LP13769

Physical Properties: b&w:

Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Historical
Subjects (Major): Assassination
  John, the Baptist, Saint
  Salome (Biblical character)
Subjects (Minor): Biblical characters

Note: News items reported that "two thousand players were engaged for this super-picture. Eight hundred artisans alone were employed in building a reproduction of the city of Jerusalem..." The film had its premiere in Seattle on 10 Aug 1918 and played in various other cities before its New York opening on 6 Oct 1918. The story of Salome was filmed twice in America in the twenties: in 1922, with Nazimova starring and Charles Bryant directing; and in 1923, with Diana Allen starring and Malcolm Strauss directing. (See AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.4781 and F2.4782.) Among the many other screen versions of the story are the 1953 Columbia production, starring Rita Hayworth and directed by William Dieterle, and the 1972 Italian film directed by Carmelo Bene. The 1920 Metro film A Modern Salome (see above) contains sequences based on the Salome story. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
ETR   6 Apr 18   p. 1461.
ETR   19 Oct 18   p. 1707.
MPN   30 Mar 18   p. 1888.
MPW   18 Jan 19   p. 389.
NYDM   21 Sep 18   p. 444.
New York Times   7 Oct 18   p. 11.
Variety   11 Oct 18   p. 45.
Wid's   13 Oct 18   pp. 19-20.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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