La Tosca (1918)

Countries - Italy  |  
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This sumptuous adaptation of Sardou's classic tragedy La Tosca starred Pauline Frederick in the title role. Set in 19th-century Rome, the film recounts the familiar story of Floria Tosca's (Frederick) tragic triangular relationship with Baron Scarpia (Frank Losee) and Mario Cavardossi (Jules Raucourt). To save rebel leader Mario from the firing squad, Tosca gives in to the lecherous demands of Scarpia then kills the villain. Alas, Mario's "rescue" turns out to be a sham, and things end as badly for the heroine as they do for the two men in her life. Several critics with long memories felt that Pauline Frederick was not in the same league as such past theatrical Toscas as Sarah Bernhardt.