Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the great read..., July 25, 2008
This review is from: Vamp: The Rise and Fall of Theda Bara (Paperback)
This book is a nominal read describing the acting career of Theda Bara, but it doesn't explain Theda herself. I take off two stars for a couple of reasons:

First, this book reads more like a filmography of her career than a biography. The middle of the book goes into a outline of "Theda did this film...the critics said this...then she did this activity...then she did this film...then she did this activity...and so on." So, while discussions of her filming career and some of her life understandably deserve much detail, there's insufficient description of Theda herself. You know what she did, but you're not placed into her life.

Second, the biography is short around the beginning and end of Theda's life. Understandably, her film career is so much more well documented and interesting, so this is where the bulk of the material will go. But, her 30 year retirement is cut way short, giving little information on what Theda did with the second half of her life.

Third, the book lacks second-hand accounts that would inject zest into the story. What did Theda's friends say about her? What did they do together? There are no personal anecdotes that would give us glimpses into her life and personality.

After reading this, I get the perspective of "Theda was a working girl who did many films, and then lived a quite life afterwards." While she looked glamorous on the screen, she didn't consider herself so.

This book is certainly good in many respects. The writing is interesting, so it's no labor to read. Also, the description of the historical times and place is rich in detail. The reader will fully understand the context of the silent film era, its growth, and its cultural influence.
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