A scene from a 1910 movie.
Asta Nielsen's erotic 'Gaucho' dance caused an uproar when 'Afgrunden' (directed by Peter Urban Gad) was released in 1910. Her debut role made her a star immediately - the first film diva. Since then, Nielsen remained popular because of her sex appeal, sense of style and androgynous looks.
Seventy of Nielsen's 74 films were made in Germany where she was known simply as Die Asta (The Asta). Noted for her large dark eyes, mask-like face and boyish figure, Nielsen most often portrayed strong-willed passionate women trapped by tragic consequences.
Due to the erotic nature of her performances, Nielsen's films were heavily censored in the United States and her work remained relatively obscure to American audiences. She is credited with transforming movie acting from overt theatricality to a more subtle naturalistic style... Nielsen contracted for $80,000 a year, then the highest salary for a film star.
Via Miss Cellania.