The Vampire (1913 film)

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The Vampire
The Vampire (1913).jpg
Alice Eis and Bert French performing the "Vampire Dance"
Directed by Robert G. Vignola
Written by T. Hayes Hunter
Robert G. Vignola
Starring Alice Hollister
Harry F. Millarde
Cinematography George K. Hollister
Distributed by General Film Company
Release date
15 October 1913
Running time
38 minutes
CountryUnited States
Language Silent film

The Vampire is an American silent film drama, directed by Robert G. Vignola, based on the 1897 eponymous poem by Rudyard Kipling. It stars Alice Hollister and Harry F. Millarde. It is generally considered the first recognized film depicting the vamp character, also known as femme fatale. [1] [2]



Harold Brentwell moves to the city for a new job and meets Sybil, an adventuress. Harold is totally fascinated by Sybil and forgets his fiancée Helen but, actually, Sybil is a vampire who is going to ruin his life. He soon loses his job and becomes an alcoholic. Abandoned by the vamp, desperate and alone, Harold goes to the theater and watches the "Vampire Dance", depicting a man dominated by a beautiful woman who, eventually, takes his life putting the bite on him. Thus Harold understands his weakness and tries to redeem himself.



The Vampire, Philip Burne-Jones (1897) Philip Burne-Jones - The Vampire.jpg
The Vampire, Philip Burne-Jones (1897)

The Vampire was shot in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. [3] It is often cited as the oldest "vamp" movie in existence since earlier pictures like the 1910 short film with the same name starring Margarita Fischer and produced by William Nicholas Selig is considered lost. [4]

The highlight of the production is the presence of dancers Alice Eis and Bert French performing their "Vampire Dance", inspired by Philip Burne-Jones painting The Vampire (1897). A still of the performance recreates the exact features of the painting. [5] "The Vampire Dance" was famous and controversial at the time in the American vaudeville circuit for its provocative poses, before it was documented as part of the film. [5]

On February 20, 1913 the dancers scandalised authorities with their number "Le rouge et noir" and were arrested on obscenity charges the next day, later freed on $500 bail each. [6] [7] Eis and French were paid $2,000 by the Kalem executives to immortalise the "Vampire Dance". [8]


The New York Dramatic Mirror wrote: "The acting of Miss Hollister as the adventuress in handling the different situations with the hero stands out. The director has carried detail to a fine point and very artistically. Photography good." [9]

The Moving Picture World stated: "It is well acted and in photography is, for the most part, above criticism." [10]

Preservation status

Previously considered to be a lost film, a print exists in the George Eastman Museum film archive. [11]

See also

Related Research Articles

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  1. John T. Soister, American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films, 1913-1929, McFarland, 2012, p.41
  2. Amber Butchart, The Fashion of Film, Hachette UK, 2016, p.100
  3. Paolo Cherchi Usai, Silent Cinema: A Guide to Study, Research and Curatorship, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019, p.126
  4. Tom Pollard (2016). Loving Vampires: Our Undead Obsession. McFarland. p. 50. ISBN   9781476624303.
  5. 1 2 James Card, Seductive cinema: the art of silent film, Knopf, 1994, p.183
  6. Andrew L. Erdman, Blue Vaudeville: Sex, Morals and the Mass Marketing of Amusement, 1895-1915, McFarland, 2015, p.120
  7. "Fortune dancers arrested" (PDF). February 21, 1913. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  8. Jonathan Rigby, American Gothic: Sixty Years of Horror Cinema, Reynolds & Hearn, 2007, p.21
  9. Jay Leyda, Charles Musser (1986). Before Hollywood: Turn-of-the-Century Film from American Archives. American Federation of Arts. pp.  152. ISBN   9780917418815.
  10. Licensed Specials. The Moving Picture World. 1913. pp.  496.
  11. "The Vampire". Retrieved October 1, 2017.