Salome (1923) - from Oscar Wilde's play - silent with English intertitles

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 6 March 2015 | 10:32:00 pm

Not Wagner of course, but would there have been this opera without Wagner? Whatever the answer, Salome, is perhaps one of Strauss' greatest works - if not the greatest opera of the 20th century. This is not the opera of course, but the 1923 Silent movie of Wild's play. More interestingly, this uses a single set based on Aubrey Beardsley's illustrations for the published play.

Salomé (1923), a silent film directed by Charles Bryant and starring Alla Nazimova, is a film adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play of the same name.

Salomé is often called one of the first art films to be made in the U.S.[1] The highly stylized costumes, exaggerated acting (even for the period), minimal sets, and absence of all but the most necessary props make for a screen image much more focused on atmosphere and on conveying a sense of the characters' individual heightened desires than on conventional plot development.

Despite the film being only a little over an hour in length and having no real action to speak of, it cost over $350,000 to make. All the sets were constructed indoors to be able to have complete control over the lighting. The film was shot completely in black and white, matching the illustrations done by Aubrey Beardsley in the printed edition of Wilde's play. The costumes, designed by Natacha Rambova, used material only from Maison Lewis of Paris, such as the real silver lamé loincloths worn by the guards.



No major studio would be associated with the film, and it was years after its completion before it was released, by a minor independent distributor. It was a complete failure at the time and marked the end of Nazimova's producing career.