Sapho (1917)

Sapho, whose real name is Fanny Legrand, is the daughter of poor people, her father being a coachman, and her early home is little more than a hovel in the slums of Paris. She is one of the... See full summary »


Hugh Ford


Alphonse Daudet (novel), Hugh Ford (scenario) | 1 more credit »




Credited cast:
Pauline Frederick ... Sapho, aka Fanny Lagrand
Frank Losee ... Caoudal
John St. Polis ... Dejoie (as John Sainpolis)
Pedro de Cordoba ... Flamant
Thomas Meighan ... Jean Gaussin
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Howard Davies


Sapho, whose real name is Fanny Legrand, is the daughter of poor people, her father being a coachman, and her early home is little more than a hovel in the slums of Paris. She is one of the quaint girl flower-sellers on the streets of Paris, earning a few sous daily, which she is compelled to give toward the support of the family. It was while selling her wares in one of the big restaurants that she is first seen by Caoudal, the famous sculptor, who recognizes her wonderful beauty and persuades her to pose for him. The luxury of his studio awakens in her an unsuspected love for the beautiful things of life. One step leads to another, and it is not long before she becomes the most talked of and sought after model of Paris. She is content to live in this way, reveling in beauty and the admiration of her friends and Caoudal himself, until Dejoie, the poet, moved by her beauty, writes verses to her which make both himself and her still more famous, winning her away from Caoudal. The poet ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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"Sapho" is taken from one of the best known works of the famous French author, Alphonse Dandet, and Pauline Frederick has created from this famous literary character, a role that will linger in the mind forever as one of her very greatest screen achievements. (Print Ad-Duluth Herald, ((Duluth, Minn.)) 20 September 1917)


Drama | Romance


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User Reviews

Pauline Frederick Gets Around
30 April 2011 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

Poverty-stricken in nineteenth century Paris, flower salesgirl Pauline Frederick (as Fanny Legrand) is discovered for her extraordinary beauty, by sculptor Frank Losee (as Caoudal), and consequently becomes his model and mistress "Sapho". Ms. Frederick leaves Mr. Losee for poet John Sainpolis (as Dejoie), then falls in with engraver Pedro de Cordoba (as Flamant), before finally finding true love with student Thomas Meighan (as Jean Gaussin). However, Ms. Frederick's sordid past threatens their happiness...

By most accounts, this lost "Sapho" wasn't a very good adaptation of the frequently filmed Alphonse Daudet story, but Frederick and other members of the troupe were praised for their parts. "Variety" (March 16, 1917) said, "The public will be attracted in the hope that they are going to see something salacious, racy and with a dash of spice, but they are doomed to disappointment, for the picturization of Alphonse Daudet's famous Parisian courtesan is quite commonplace, for all the real thrills have been eliminated."

In "Moving Picture World" (March 24, 1917), George Blaisdell noted the outstanding work by Pauline Frederick and her four fine co-starring men, adding, "Hugh Ford has splendidly staged the production. He has reproduced the atmosphere of Paris of the period of today rather than of the time of the story. Mr. Ford has been at pains to bring out the lighter side of the drama, to leave covered as much as may be the sordid side; but he has banked strong on the dramatic situations of the denouement. It is all well done."

"Photoplay" (May 1917) columnist Julian Johnson wrote, "Miss Frederick is beautiful always, and quite thrilling when, as the model, there is more of her visible than even the sea shore sees in summer. Frank Losee, as the elderly sculptor who is her first patron and friend, John Sainpolis as Dejoie, Pedro DeCordoba as the forging clerk, and Thomas Meighan as the virile Jean, are excellently cast. The production is careful, the direction scholastic. 'Sapho' is perfect except that it has no life. The spirit, the soul, are lacking."

***** Sapho (3/11/17) Hugh Ford ~ Pauline Frederick, Thomas Meighan, Pedro de Cordoba, John St. Polis

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Release Date:

11 March 1917 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sappho See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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