It (1927)

Film Review

IT

Release Date: 19 February, 1927

Studio: Paramount

Director: Clarence G. Badger

Starring: Clara Bow, Antonio Moreno

Special Notes: TCM Classic Film Festival, 2013

This film was shown in the Special Presentations category at the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival. Film historian David Stenn, author of Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild, discussed Bow's early career.

Synopsis

Shop girl Bow is enamored of her boss, Moreno, the owner of the department store at which she works. She is determined to catch his attention, and when they meet, he is attracted to her. However, a misunderstanding (he thinks she is an unwed mother and hiding the fact from him) separates them. Invited onto his yacht by another man, she assumes the character of a free-living flapper. As she intended, her impersonation torments him. However, love cannot be denied, Bow shows her true character, and Bow and Moreno are happily united.

Discussion

Clara Bow was born in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, New York City (her Brooklyn accent was first heard in Wild Party, 1929). She was her parent's third daughter and the first to survive babyhood. Her childhood was miserable. Her family was poor, her father often absent. Clara cared for her mother who suffered with epileptic seizures and psychotic episodes. Clara had no acting experience when she entered movies. However, she was a natural talent, and her quality is immediately visible on screen. After making a few films in New York, Bow (at age 17) went to Hollywood. She signed a personal contract with B.P. Schulberg, the head of Preferred Pictures, a small, independent studio. In 1926, Schulberg was hired to run Paramount Studios, and he sold Bow's contract to Paramount. By 1927, she was a major star who embodied the emerging concepts of the modern young woman. Novelist Elinor Glyn coined the term it, which she defined as an innate capacity to fascinate others combined with an indifference to whether one pleases or not. Glyn makes an appearance in the film and specifically applies the term to Bow.