When Men Desire (1919)

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Theda Bara's career began its downhill slide in earnest with this cheaply-made melodrama. As Marie Lohr, a German-American musical student stranded in war-torn Europe, Bara tones down the vampiness and plays the good girl. But when Marie has to impersonate a notorious dead woman to be able to leave Germany, Bara fires up her usual seductive spirit. Marie's American fiancée, aviator Robert Stedman (Fleming Ward), is doing his best to help her, but they are hampered at every turn by the evil Van Rohn (G. Raymond Nye), who is determined to make Marie his wife, whether she wants him or not. When Marie and Stedman finally hook up, they are interrupted by the villain. Stedman hides in the closet, but it takes practically no time for Van Rohn to figure out that something is amiss. He heads for the closet, gun drawn, but Marie stabs him with a dagger. Stedman dons the German's clothes, and they finally fly away. The picture bombed -- World War I had ended months before, and people were sick of seeing films about it.