i’m surprised hollywood hasn’t made a movie about clara bow yet, who had a classic rags to riches tale with a semi sad and tragic ending. i must admit i didn’t know much about her, apart from admiring pictures of that classic twenties flapper look and that she was a famous actress of the silent screen.
Legendary once, curiously unknown today, Clara Bow is both a heroine and a victim of silence. For the original “IT girl,” the first sex symbol and most popular female icon of the wildly modern, jazz, gin, sex and cinema-filled decade of the Twenties, there was also a hell of a lot of noise. That her name is not as familiar as Mary Pickford, Greta Garbo, Mae West or Marilyn Monroe, despite the fact that she was more famous than all of them, is testament to the power of public opinion to silence the very personality it helped to create.
- from this great article (read it)
Adolph Zukor, head of Paramount, said that “She danced even when her feet weren’t moving. Some part of her was always in motion, if only her great, rolling eyes. It was an elemental magnetism, an animal vitality, that made her the center of attraction in any company.”
“She was in no rush to get married and preferred dates and dancehalls to dubious domestic bliss. She considered all her options. She drank and smoked. She liked sex and wasn’t afraid to admit it. And she was mad about motion pictures.”
She was the girl who F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose name is virtually synonymous with the Twenties, called “the real thing, someone to stir every pulse in the nation.”
She was her own woman—and her own man. Her signature color was red. She died her hair flaming orange and (literally) sped around town in her red roadster sports car, a pack of Chihuahuas in tow. She ignored fashion conventions and flaunted her own sense of style, wearing gold slippers to football games and a belted bathing suit to a formal hotel dinner.
Bow reached the heights of her popularity with the film It … a character explains what “It” really is: “It…that strange magnetism which attracts both sexes… entirely unself-conscious…full of self-confidence… indifferent to the effect… she is producing and uninfluenced by others.”
Despite all the encouraging signs, the Twenties weren’t ready for Clara’s breed of woman. Even in decadent Hollywood, she was way too hot, way too modern, to handle. Unconventional, uninhibited, irreverent and utterly, helplessly herself, Clara Bow was both the champion and the victim of her own projected image.
watch this if you want to learn a bit more about her.