“I’m going to be so bad I’ll always be remembered.”

Hollywood’s original femme fatale, Bara embodied alluring licentiousness and exotic decadence during the earliest silent film era with movies like Salome, Sin, and The She-Devil. The daughter of Jewish immigrants, Bara’s scandalous but magnetic public image helped cement the new medium of film as potentially dangerous, inflammatory, and even perverse–just as audiences liked it, despite the protestations of moral guardians. At a time when women’s social roles were as tightly regimented as ever, Bara achieved fame and success with an image of practiced amorality.