Wednesday, October 05, 2011


1927, US, directed by Clarence G. Badger

Where I struggled to comprehend the fuss made over Mae West's charms, I had no difficulty understanding just why Clara Bow's star blazed so brightly in the late 1920s: she's almost mesmerizingly charming, completely dominating the screen with her energy. In her way, Bow's character is as single-minded as West's in She Done Him Wrong or Barbara Stanwyck's in Baby Face, but her zestful approach to life is more endearing, if ultimately a similar exercise in social climbing. There's a striking zoom shot near the beginning that's highly unusual for the period - distractingly so at this remove, since I kept wondering whether the zoom lens had been invented that early or whether the filmmakers had used some other trick to achieve the effect.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States