The Opium It-Girl: Who Was Madame D’Herlys?

"La Belle D'Herlys with Tod Sloan" Anyone smell a false name?

This very intriguing 1915 clip depicts a glamourous lady La Belle D’Herlys and a smartly dressed gentleman Tod Sloan sharing a cigarette and a gossip. Labelled as ‘undesirable aliens’, whoever wrote the original canister notes beside this clip was evidently excited and listed words such as “mysterious”, “underworld”, “opium den habitué” and “ schemer Playboy outlaw”!

We did a little research via the University of Google to decipher who exactly this distinguished and fashionably dressed pair were. We found these two articles:

Article One

Article Two

Very interesting. So they were deported to France and America for unspecified reasons, although gambling is given as a casual speculation. It’s amazing how embittered and enraged the writer of the first article seems to be. Whatever this pair’s crimes, they’ve been immortalised by the British Pathé film archive, and so for all her sins the wonderful Madame D’Herlys (probably a dockyard worker’s daughter from Blackpool) will forever sit gracefully bitching and puffing away in her designer attire. Fabulous. Nothing beats a British Pathé It-Girl.

‘Undesirable Aliens Deported’ – WATCH NOW!

Author: British Pathé

British Pathé holds the world's finest newsreel collection. We also represent the Reuters historical collection. All 220K films are viewable on our website.

One thought on “The Opium It-Girl: Who Was Madame D’Herlys?”

  1. Tod Sloan remains a part of the language, as his name was adopted by Cockney rhyming slang for ‘own’ or ‘alone’ i.e. all on his tod.

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