When a Woman Sins

When a Woman Sins is a 1918 American silent drama film directed by J. Gordon Edwards and starring Theda Bara.

When a Woman Sins
When a Woman Sins 1918 poster.jpg
Film poster (1918)
Directed byJ. Gordon Edwards
Written byE. Lloyd Sheldon
Story byBeta Breuil
Produced byWilliam Fox
StarringTheda Bara
Josef Swickard
CinematographyJohn W. Boyle
Distributed byFox Film Corporation
Release date
  • September 20, 1918 (1918-09-20)
Running time
7 reels
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


As described in a film magazine,[1] nurse Lilian Marchard (Bara) is engaged by Mortimer West (Swickard), an old rogue who is dangerously ill. She meets his son Michael (Roscoe), a divinity student, and his earnestness ignites a spark of love within her. Michael professes his ardent love for her in the garden, and that night, coming upon her in Mortimer's bedroom, she misconstrues the situation and becomes angry. The old man dies and Dr. Stone orders her from the house. The years pass and Lilian becomes Poppea, a notorious charmer and dancer of the town. Among her many lovers is Reggie West, Michael's cousin. Michael goes to Poppea to ask her to give Reggie up for his mother's sake, and Reggie, waiting without, shoots himself. Poppea hosts a dinner for several wealthy men and just as she is about to auction herself off to the highest bidder, she receives a bible and lily from Michael. She gives up her fast friends and returns to the slums to minister to the sick, finally winning Michael's love.



Like many American films of the time, When a Woman Sins was subject to cuts by city and state film censorship boards. For example, the Chicago Board of Censors required cuts, in Reel 1, of pictures of a young woman in pajamas, Reel 2, old man kissing nurse on shoulder, Reel 5, the intertitle "I am for sale to the highest bidder", and to insert a new intertitle to the effect that the woman will marry the man who bids the most.[2]

Preservation statusEdit

When a Woman Sins is now considered to be a lost film.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Reviews: When a Woman Sins". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 7 (16): 39. October 12, 1918.
  2. ^ "Official Cut-Outs by the Chicago Board of Censors". Exhibitors Herald. 7 (15): 46. October 5, 1918.
  3. ^ "Progressive Silent Film List: When a Woman Sins". silentera.com. Retrieved June 30, 2008.

External linksEdit