A Bogus Film: SIREN FROM HELL (1915)

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silentfilm

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A Bogus Film: SIREN FROM HELL (1915)

PostMon May 22, 2017 8:36 pm

There's over a thousand hits on Google if you search for "Theda Bara" and "Siren From Hell". It's on the IMDB and many other sites, but only the information that it is a short directed by Raoul Walsh and the only cast member is Ms. Bara.

If you peruse Eve Golden's and Joan Craig's books on Theda Bara, there is not a mention of this film at all. In fact, I searched on the Media Digital History Project, and there are not any hits on this title.

It appears to have started with this Byron Caloz blog post. I checked the entire excerpt from Raoul Walsh's book on Richard Koszarski's Before Hollywood There Was Fort Lee book, and there is not even a mention of "Siren From Hell" there either.
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Re: A Bogus Film: SIREN FROM HELL (1915)

PostSun Jun 18, 2017 4:49 pm

That's an interesting bit of Hollywood folklore, sir. You're right that there are a lot of web sites out there in cyberspace that show this as a bona fide 1915 title, yet none feature any information about it other than what you state. The lines blur between fact and fiction because the alleged film is listed as "lost," Walsh was appearing in shorts in 1915, and Theodosa Goodman was drifting in and out of Pathé Frères and Fox studios as early as the year before, looking for a break. Unless a mention can be found in one of the film trade magazines of 1915, such as a review, release date, synopsis, notation on an ad, or anything that would become the "smoking gun," the title's status maybe should be changed from missing to myth, along with the spurious Lucille LeSueur silent-era porno film that no one has yet seen, the Lillian Gish Peter Pan screen test, Sarah Bernhardt 1911 sound film version of Camille, and Fidel Castro's extra appearances in Easy to Wed (1946) and Bathing Beauty (1944).
They call me "Dangerous Dal"
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Re: A Bogus Film: SIREN FROM HELL (1915)

PostSun Jun 18, 2017 8:34 pm

I submitted a title deletion request to the IMDB. We'll see if they take any action.
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Re: A Bogus Film: SIREN FROM HELL (1915)

PostMon Jun 19, 2017 12:08 pm

Thank you for contacting us. This title has been in our database for a considerable amount of time and appears to be derived from a source linking it to Fox Film Corporation and Raoul Walsh.

There is very little data available but a reference here:
https://books.google.ie/books?id=S_fZDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA110&lpg=PA110&dq=%22Raoul+Walsh%22+%22Siren+of+Hell%22&source=bl&ots=MJb1ofSzsq&sig=sBYwjXgjXFeA-RYhbK0QnAgNeL4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj3pKjRmsrUAhXDCJoKHVYNAuEQ6AEIPDAG#v=onepage&q=%22Raoul%20Walsh%22%20%22Siren%20of%20Hell%22&f=false

and

https://books.google.ie/books?id=boIGCAAAQBAJ&pg=PA388&lpg=PA388&dq=%22Raoul+Walsh%22+%22Siren+of+Hell%22&source=bl&ots=WQ8cpMJ60-&sig=cRpLCEAiSBN8fDF5jcS2jDOYSeY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj3pKjRmsrUAhXDCJoKHVYNAuEQ6AEIPjAH#v=onepage&q=%22Raoul%20Walsh%22%20%22Siren%20of%20Hell%22&f=false

and a few blog posts. It looks to be short.

Often with these old titles its very difficult to find online evidence for them however there is reasonable doubt here to warrant keeping this listing for the time being.

Thank you for your understanding,

Regards,
Adam
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Re: A Bogus Film: SIREN FROM HELL (1915)

PostMon Jun 19, 2017 2:28 pm

IMDb replies nowadays? That's something new. They must be applying stricter rules to removing spurious listings too. Take this example from a few years ago - they took it down almost immediately (although the title still appears over 3,000 times in Google searches ...)

It appears that the error derives from Walsh's interview with Richard Schickel in the book 'The Men Who Made The Movies'. In it, Walsh recalls a Bara movie he thinks was called Siren of Hell. Given Walsh's fuzziness on the title (perhaps he meant The Devil's Daughter (1915)?) and the fact that he's already hardly what you'd call a reliable source, it's not a credible citation.

Combine with this the fact that there are no trade paper mentions and no entry in the AFI Catalog, we can safely call the existence of this film a myth.
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Re: A Bogus Film: SIREN FROM HELL (1915)

PostTue Jun 20, 2017 11:57 am

I wrote a longer reply, detailing all the reasons why we think that this film never existed, but no luck.

Thank you for sharing your concerns with us.

As we have previously stated the title appears to be derived from a source linking it to Fox Film Corporation and Raoul Walsh.

Due to the age of the film and as there are references available online, even if those references are small in number, we believe there is enough reasonable doubt to keep the title listed on the database for the time being.

We're sorry we were not able help you further with this query.

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The IMDb Help Desk
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Re: A Bogus Film: SIREN FROM HELL (1915)

PostTue Jun 20, 2017 6:03 pm

So IMDb are content to disseminate information that is at least probably wrong, if not clearly wrong, and considers itself above the AFI Catalog. Yeesh. We are living in the era of fake news, after all ...
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Re: A Bogus Film: SIREN FROM HELL (1915)

PostTue Jun 20, 2017 6:08 pm

If you're feeling adventurous, Bruce, you could always add the information that you offered in the first post to this thread to the "trivia" section of the IMDb listing.

I thought Walsh's memoirs were very entertaining, but I don't believe anything he wrote in them.

Bob
Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates.

-- Werner Herzog
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Re: A Bogus Film: SIREN FROM HELL (1915)

PostWed Jun 21, 2017 7:49 am

boblipton wrote:If you're feeling adventurous, Bruce, you could always add the information that you offered in the first post to this thread to the "trivia" section of the IMDb listing.

I thought Walsh's memoirs were very entertaining, but I don't believe anything he wrote in them.

Bob


Except the parts about his pets.

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