classified 12A

Restored & Rediscovered


Please note: This was screened in July 2023

Charles Bryant & Alla Nazimova
Alla Nazimova, Nigel De Brulier, Mitchell Lewis, Rose Dione
72 mins, 1922, USA

This silent adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s seminal play is a high-water mark in cinema’s young history. A loose reframing of the Biblical story of Salomé - the daughter of King Herod who asked for St John the Baptist’s head - the film is consciously artificial across its sets, aesthetic choices and performances - stylised to the extremes.

Salomé also functions as a prime showcase for its star, producer and director Alla Nazimova, who co-directed the film with her husband Charles Bryant. The Russian-born Nazimova was a key figure in the youthful American cinema - a powerhouse director/star/multihyphenate who went seamlessly from stage to screen and earned a string of successes in both fields in the early 20th century, leaving behind a laundry list of lovers, many of them women.

Released at the height of Nazimova's fame, Salomé flopped, and it led to a slow retreat from the medium of film. A century later, the film has been reclaimed as a feminist and Queer classic of silent cinema.

A digital restoration courtesy of Lobster Films.

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