Clara Bow
the It Girl - Films with Review Rating and Plot Summary - Links


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Clara Bow - Silent Movies


Clara Bow - the It Girl. Just some film reviews and links for now. NOTE: Beware of Spoilers.

Film Reviews - Plot Summaries and Ratings

Down to the Sea in Ships (1922) - About a 19th Century Quaker family in the whaling community of New Bedford, Massachusetts which includes the strict Quaker father, Charles Morgan, who owns a fleet of whaling ships and is a real stickler for the Quaker way of life, patient good daughter named, of course, Patience, and tomboy Granddaughter Dot Morgan (Clara Bow) who likes to fight and has a crush on local boy Jimmy. Meanwhile two "bad men" have a plan to steal Morgan's ships so they plant one of them, Samuel Siggs, in town where he pretends to be a Quaker and a whaler and soon has his mind set on marrying beautiful Patience. Meanwhile Patience has set her cap for "the boy-next-door" who dad doesn't like 'cause he never harpooned a whale. Dot disguises herself as a boy so she can go on a whaling ship with Jimmy when he signs on as a cabin boy. Meanwhile, Siggs and his partner decide to kidnap Boy-Next-Door (and make him "disappear" forever) so the path is clear for Siggs to marry Patience. So they drug him, tie him up, and put him, by coincidence, on the same whaling ship as Dot is a stowaway on. This movie is quite enjoyable although I think it's kind of boring during the lengthy whaling ship scenes - not to mention the fact that it seems quite "yucky" seeing them harpoon and cut up a poor whale. My DVD is from Kino - it has a nice clear tinted print and a piano score by William Perry that is really, really good. Love the music in this. (3.5/4 stars)

Parisian Love (1925) - Clara Bow as Marie, a girl who entertains the "Americans" by dancing the Apache dance in this seedy Paris nightclub along with her "pretty boy" boyfriend Armand, and another guy. After their dance one night, they decide to rob the house of "rich and famous" Pierre Marcel, who is at the club that night. Marie disguises herself as a boy (and then waits outside - so why the disguise?), while the two men break into the house, only to find Pierre there who rises from bed and captures them. Oddly enough, he seems to recognize the handsome Armand and then makes excuses to the cops for him by saying he was a friend (why? My first impression was they were former lovers?!) while the other man is chased by the cops and killed. Armand thinks Marie was killed by the cops too - but it seems to me he has absolutely NO problem switching his affections from female to male as Pierre and Armand figure out that Armand was once Pierre's student at University, they "bond", and then move in together. Marie is jealous and decides to get even with Pierre for stealing her man. So she makes a plan to take Pierre for "every franc he's got" - by marrying him. She now disguises herself as a girl from a convent, introduces herself to Pierre as a friend of a deceased friend, and then dances the tango with Pierre who quickly falls in love with her. This movie is pretty good - nothing great, but quite enjoyable. The music on the Kino DVD (this film is on the same DVD as Down to the Sea in Ships) is a decent / neutral piano score. Nice-looking tinted print too. (3/4 stars)

It (1927) - One of my fave silents, Clara Bow plays Betty Lou Spence, a girl from the poor suburb of Gashouse Gables who works as a shopgirl at the "world's largest store" - Waltham's. Cyrus Waltham (Antonio Moreno), handsome son of Waltham's owner has just taken over as the new "boss" and while making his rounds to look over the store, Betty sees him and falls hard for the cutie-pie ("Santa Claus - give me HIM!"). She tries every trick to get him to notice her but nothing is working, but after overhearing Waltham say he is eating dinner at the Ritz that night, she accepts an invitation for dinner by a friend of Waltham's named Monty, a rich "old fruit" (hey, I didn't say it - he calls himself that as he looks in the mirror "Old fruit - you've got IT!"). Betty needs a dress to wear to the Ritz, so decides to slit open the black satin she is currently wearing, add a few touches like flowers and net veil for effect - and looks gorgeous. Off to the Ritz with Monty, where she spots Mr. Waltham eating with a blonde (introduced as one of the 18 million blondes in America currently getting ready to dine with a gentleman). Betty has IT so, of course, Waltham falls for her the minute he spots her. Next day they have a date at Coney Island - not exactly the kind of place he is used to - but they have a great time munching down hot dogs, going in the fun house, and riding the "Human Roulette Wheel" (that wood spinning thing everyone sits on and spins off of in old movie fun houses - I always wonder, didn't people get hurt when they got thrown off that thing?). They are in love. But - - Betty has a roommate, Molly, who is sick and has no job (and apparently no husband) - but has a baby. A couple of busybody old bitties arrive to try and take Molly's baby away from her - so loyal pal Betty tells the busybodies that the baby is *hers*. Monty overhears and tells Waltham who drops Betty, as apparently he can't go with a "soiled woman". He soon is overcome by her beauty though, so makes her an "offer" of diamonds, clothes, etc. in "trade" for, well, you know. She is offended. When the truth comes out that the baby isn't hers, she sets out with Monty to get even with Waltham, but ya just know this isn't a couple to be apart for long! Love this movie. My copy has a very nice piano score done by William Perry. (4/4 stars)

Wings (1927) - The first film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Clara Bow as Mary Preston, small-town girl who loves the boy-next-door Jack Powell (Buddy Rogers) who loves city girl Sylvia (Jobyna Ralston) who loves rich boy David Armstrong (Richard Arlen) who loves Sylvia back. WWI - the guys enlist as flyboys and soon our story takes us from ground school (where our two fellows, who aren't getting along 'cause they both love Sylvia, "bond" during boxing practice) - to overseas dawn patrol where their first flight takes them into battle against a German ace and his "flying circus" - to fighting a Gotha. Mary signs up too - and ends up overseas herself driving a supply truck. When the guys are given leave and end up in Paris at the Folies Bergere, word is sent that the "Big Battle" is coming and all leaves are cancelled. Mary tries to get Jack out of the Folies (and out of the arms of a loose Folies girl) but he is drunk on champagne (and instead of "pink elephants" all Jack sees are bubbles flying out of everything!). With the help of the bathroom attendant, Mary borrows a dress from the dancers wardrobe and seduces her cutie-pie into a room (where he promptly passes out). She is caught undressed in the room (just changing back into her uniform, but misunderstood!), and is sent home for good. While there are a bit too many flying battle scenes in this for my personal taste (seems like at least half the movie is midair dogfight scenes), this is still a great movie and has lots of neat photography. Love an early scene with Sylvia and David on a swing, the scene with the black shadow of a plane going over the landscape below, and the neat tracking shot through the tables of people at the Folies Bergere ending at the drunken table of Jack, David, and friends. A young Gary Cooper appears in a brief scene as White, a veteran flyboy who shares Jack and David's overseas quarters. The organ score on my copy is done by Gaylord Carter and is quite good. (4/4 stars)




Resources

IMDb: Clara Bow - Filmography and mini biography. Also has a little message board at the bottom.

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