On August 3, 1999, Kino On Video will proudly present the new four part series
Representing the newly liberated, sexually aggressive American working-girl of the Roaring Twenties, Bow had risen to fame by the time she became a Paramount contract player in 1926. She made over 40 films between 1924 and 1929, ending the decade as the biggest female star in the country. Her fall was even quicker. In 1933--losing to sound and scandal--she quit the movie business at the age of 28.
Most of her films follow the familiar story of hard-working girl meets upper class boy. Though not the most revelatory or historically important dramas, the very presence of Bow on screen transforms these program fantasies inot something more. She had a unique charisma in front of the camera: a great natural beauty, a reckless spirity tamed by playfulness, and a frank sexuality--like Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe after her--that only partially explain her dynamic appeal. Today, the films of Clara Bow capture the extraordinary fun and energy of a rare moment in American popular culture.
Clara Bow had "It", the most desirable quality of the decade--a casual sexuality and insolent charm that set her apart, a screen persona allowed the average waitress, manicurist, usherette, and salesgirl to dream of a world of high living and wild parties. F. Scott Fitzgerald called her "the real thing, someone to stir every pulse in the nation."
Produced by Turner Movie Classics and Hugh Hefner,
Featuring 5-7 minutes of additional material not seen in the cable TV version, this Kino on Video edition explores Bow's difficult childhood, her Cinderella rise to fame and the troubled turns in her career at the end of the silent era. Narrated by diva/rock star/actress Courtney Love,
When a young athlete (Donald Keith) arrives on the campus of Prescott College, he discovers a ribald world of pranks, parties and heavy petting.
Almost immediately, Hugh falls under the charms of his roommate's (Gilbert Roland) girlfriend, the bewitching Cynthia (Clara Bow) and tumbles into the carefree lifestyle of the "fast crowd"--against the warnings of his coaches. As Cynthia begins to return Hugh's deeper feelings, she must decide whether to sacrifice their love in order to save his collegiate future, or sabotage his athletic career for four years of fun-filled, jazz-fueled excitement.
As the unrestrained, unashamed Cynthia, Bow expresses the youthful exuberance and Jazz Era playfulness that made her an icon of her age, and an unqualified screen legend.
Also featured on this cassette in RUN GIRL, RUN an especially saucy Mack Sennett short which follows the libidinal high jinks of an all-girl track team, led by blossoming starlet Carole Lombard (then spelling her name "Carol"). Lombard would later find fame in more sophisticated comedies and wed Clark Gable who, coincidentally, can be glimpsed in several scenes of
Poor, playful and with plenty of "It," Marie (Bow) is a wily rogue who thrives off the American tourists slumming in Paris' more seedy districts.
When her lover Armand (Donald Keith) is shot during a robbery, Marie vows revenge upon the wealthy culprit: Pierre Marcel (Lou Tellegen).
With the help of a comical underworld matriarch (Lillian Leighton) and a sinister band of thieves, Marie trades in her wool cap and ragged trousers for ermine and lace in an elaborate plot to seduce Marcel.
Whether garbed as a boy of the street, dolled up as a French maid, dressed as a prim convent girl or gowned in the finery of the Champs-Elysses, Bow casts a hypnotic spell upon the viewer and displays the wit, beauty, charm and expressiveness that made her the box-office queen of the latter-day silents.
Undeterred by her predicament--or the presence of Cyrus's fiancee (Jacqueline Gadsdon)--Betty Lou intensifies her efforts and decides to crash a high-society yacht party in a last-ditch effort to get her man.
Unlike the sexless starlets or cool beauties who generally appeared on screen, Bow was prone to playing the sexual aggressor in her films, a daring deviation from female passivity that revolutionized the role of women not only in cinema but in society as well.