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Theda Bara as Ruth Gordon
Theda Bara as Ruth Gordon

The Blue Flame is a four-act play written by George V. Hobart and John Willard, who revised an earlier version by Leta Vance Nicholson. In 1920, producer Albert H. Woods staged the play on Broadway and on tour across the United States. Ruth Gordon, the main character, is a religious young woman who dies and is revived by her scientist fiancé as a soulless femme fatale. She seduces several men and involves them in crimes, including drug use and murder. In the final act, her death and resurrection are revealed to be a dream. The production starred Theda Bara (pictured), a popular silent film actress who was known for playing similar roles in movies. Critics panned the play, ridiculing the plot, the dialog, and Bara's acting. Theater historian Ward Morehouse called it "one of the worst plays ever written". Bara's movie fame drew large crowds to theaters, and the play was a commercial success, breaking attendance records at some venues. Ruth Gordon was Bara's only Broadway role, and The Blue Flame was one of her last professional acting projects. (Full article...)

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