The Soul of Buddha (1918)

Drama | 21 April 1918

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HISTORY

An advertising guide notes that the story was "founded on the case of Mata Hari, the Parisian dancer who was exectued as a German spy." Reviewers give Theda Bara's character various names.
       According the Theda Bara's unfinished and unpublished ghost-written autobiography, Bara wrote the screen story for The Soul of Buddha on a train trip frpm Los Angeles to New York as a form of repayment to William Fox. She had taken some of the costumes she had worn in her role as Cleopatra because she could not bear the prospect of seeing them re-purposd in other films, and felt guilty for having done so. When she handed the story to William Fox at his office in New York and explained what she had done, Fox told her the gesture wasn't necessary, but he accepted the story ... More Less

An advertising guide notes that the story was "founded on the case of Mata Hari, the Parisian dancer who was exectued as a German spy." Reviewers give Theda Bara's character various names.
       According the Theda Bara's unfinished and unpublished ghost-written autobiography, Bara wrote the screen story for The Soul of Buddha on a train trip frpm Los Angeles to New York as a form of repayment to William Fox. She had taken some of the costumes she had worn in her role as Cleopatra because she could not bear the prospect of seeing them re-purposd in other films, and felt guilty for having done so. When she handed the story to William Fox at his office in New York and explained what she had done, Fox told her the gesture wasn't necessary, but he accepted the story anyway. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
ETR
23 Mar 18
p. 1303.
MPN
11 May 18
p. 2816, 2862-63.
MPW
18 May 18
p. 1035, 1039-40.
NYDM
16 Mar 18
p. 1556.
Variety
17 May 18
p. 45.
Wid's
19 May 18
p. 2.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Fox Standard Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 April 1918
Copyright Claimant:
William Fox
Copyright Date:
21 April 1918
Copyright Number:
LP12339
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
gauge
35mm
Length(in feet):
4,610
Length(in reels):
5
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

To save her flirtatious daughter Bava from probable ruin, a Javanese mother dedicates the girl as a sacred dancer in the service of Buddha. Bava's eye continues to rove, however, and when she finally runs away with Sir John Dare, a British officer stationed in Java, Ysora, the high priest, vows to avenge her insult to the god. The fog of her husband's native Scotland so depresses Bava that they soon return to Java, where their baby is born. After the high priest kills the child, the couple flees to Paris, and while Sir John is visiting Scotland, his restless wife visits an Apache cabaret. Seeing the dancers whirl on the stage, Bava is seized with the desire to perform a Javanese dance, which so impresses a theatrical agent that he immediately offers her a contract. News of Bava's budding affair with Count Romaine reaches Sir John, who returns to Paris and kills himself in her dressing room. Bava hides his body and nonchalantly receives visitors, after which she mounts the stage for her dance. Suddenly one of the Buddha figures seated near the rear of the stage, actually Ysora, comes to life, and Bava dies under his ... +


To save her flirtatious daughter Bava from probable ruin, a Javanese mother dedicates the girl as a sacred dancer in the service of Buddha. Bava's eye continues to rove, however, and when she finally runs away with Sir John Dare, a British officer stationed in Java, Ysora, the high priest, vows to avenge her insult to the god. The fog of her husband's native Scotland so depresses Bava that they soon return to Java, where their baby is born. After the high priest kills the child, the couple flees to Paris, and while Sir John is visiting Scotland, his restless wife visits an Apache cabaret. Seeing the dancers whirl on the stage, Bava is seized with the desire to perform a Javanese dance, which so impresses a theatrical agent that he immediately offers her a contract. News of Bava's budding affair with Count Romaine reaches Sir John, who returns to Paris and kills himself in her dressing room. Bava hides his body and nonchalantly receives visitors, after which she mounts the stage for her dance. Suddenly one of the Buddha figures seated near the rear of the stage, actually Ysora, comes to life, and Bava dies under his knife. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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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.