Seeking to bring High Art to the American hinterlands, silent film star Alla Nazimova sank a great deal of her own money into her 1922 adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Salome. Art director Natacha Rambova (notorious as the contentious second wife of Rudolph Valentino) based her set designs on the works of fin-de-siecle artist Aubrey Beardsley. The story remains as always: Salome is coerced by her mother Herodias (Rose Dione) to demand the head of John the Baptist on a platter. She performs an erotic dance around the head, then is crushed to death by Herod's guards. Legend has it that everyone in the supporting cast and production crew of Salome was homosexual--hand-picked by Nazimova, who reportedly believed that only a gay aggregation could do full justice to her bizarre, excruciatingly stylized cinematic vision.
by Hal Erickson synopsis