Soul of Buddha (1918)

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Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein

Obviously inspired by the then topical Mata Hari espionage case, this drama presented the screen's leading vixen, Theda Bara, as a Javanese priestess who elopes with an English military officer (Hugh Thompson). Like Mata before her, Bara's Bavahari becomes a celebrated dancer but is murdered onstage by a vengeful Buddhist priest (Victor Kennard). None of this made much sense, but Bara melodramas were never strong on character motivation or logic. The Soul of a Buddha was filmed in the dead of winter at Fort Lee, New Jersey, a paper mache temple and the palisades standing in -- uneasily -- for tropical Java.