Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How Clara Bow Broke Into The Movies

How I Broke Into The Movies was published in 1930 and contains articles on the title theme written by movie stars of the day like Laura LaPlante, Jean Hersholt, Douglas Fairbanks, Dolores Costello, Richard Dix, Leatrice Joy, and 53 other notable actors. As time goes by, I will be publishing these articles under the umbrella label WORLD INTERNET PREMIERE - because they are.

The first article from the book was published in my blography on Marion Davies. The second article was published in my blography on Colleen Moore - which also announced the WORLD INTERNET PREMIERE of the Moore's 1925 silent film Ella Cinders - newly scored with jazz music of the 1920s. This latest upload reveals the story of how Clara Bow, another flapper of the silent screen (and boisterous actress of many sound films) broke into the movies - in her own words.

Clara Bow is most famous for her performance as the perky and gregarious shop girl in IT and for then becoming known as the IT girl because of it. Elinor Glyn is the English novelist who wrote the book and the screenplay based on it. (Many of her books are available to read on With IT, you win all men if you are a woman and all women if you are a man. IT can be a quality of the mind as well as a physical attraction. Although she is credited with the invention of the term, the concept predates Glyn's book and movie but it was Clara who caused it to have a huge impact on the culture of the 1920s.

IT the full movie starring Clara Bow

How Clara Bow Broke Into The Movies continues after the
WORLD INTERNET PREMIERE of How I Broke Into The Movies by Clara Bow.

How I Broke Into The Movies Clara Bow picture
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How I Broke Into The Movies by Clara Bow
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Following the phenomenal success of IT, Clara was the top female star in Hollywood for four years running (1927-1930). This time period included four of her sound films which negates the false impression that she stopped making movies because a thick Brooklyn accent got in the way of her transition to sound. She was actually afraid of the microphone and, because of her ability to make money for the studio, Paramount Pictures pushed her into talking films without training.

Clara sings I'm True To The Navy Now in Paramount on Parade from 1930.
The song was not in Clara's movie of the same name.

The following films can be viewed on I'm guessing the uploader - not me for once - changed the titles to fool the copyright police. All are sound films except for Wings.
  1. Love Among The Millionaires from 1930 is listed as Poor Boy Rich Girl (although the embedded screen title is Rich Boy, Poor Girl). It's a musical romance in which Clara sings! (That's Worthwhile Waiting For, Believe It Or Not, I've Found My Man, Love Among the Millionaires, Rarin' To Go)
  2. The Saturday Night Kid from 1929 is listed as Love 'Em And Leave 'Em. Clara co-stars with the husky-voiced Jean Arthur very early in her career!!
  3. True To The Navy from 1930 is listed as The Girlfriend Of The Navy. Clara's future husband Rex Bell appears as well as Frederic March and uncredited turns from Frances Dee and Louise Beavers!!
  4. The Wild Party from 1930 is listed as Stella's Merits. Clara stars with Frederic March (again) and is directed by Dorothy Arzner!!
  5. Hoop-La from 1933 is listed as (surprise) Hoop-La and is Clara's last movie role. She was 28 when she left Hollywood and made almost as many sound features as she made silent ones.
  6. Wings (a 111 minute version) from 1927 is listed as The Shooting Star. The silent film is available on DVD at it's original length of almost two and a half hours and is the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Parisian Love can be viewed here.

Other reasons that contributed to Clara's departure from Hollywood were the lifelong mental health issues from which she suffered, enduring many stays in the sanitarium and shock treatments. She also went through a media circus when she charged her secretary Daisy DeVoe with financial mismanagement; DeVoe spouted many personal and damaging details about Clara while on the stand and the scandal sheets ate it up.

Rare film footage of Clara Bow in color

One (of many) falsehood(s) that followed Bow throughout her life (and was published in the gossip tome Hollywood Babylon by Kenneth Anger) was that she bedded the entire University Of Southern California football team. Her on-screen wrestling match with a very well-endowed, male Great Dane dog in the 1933 talkie Call Her Savage probably did not help her in the eyes of the increasingly puritanical American public. She left Hollywood around the same time the Production Code was put into place and lived quietly with Bell (who also left Hollywood for a career in politics). They had two children and Bow died in 1965 from a heart attack.

Clara Bow: Discovering the IT Girl, TCM documentary

Get Your Man a 1927 silent film, literally as this version has no musical soundtrack

This interview was published in a 1929 book by Lee Shippey called Personal Glimpses of Famous Folks and Other Selections from the Lee Side o' L.A.

I found this PDF on Dr. Macro's wonderful movie scan site
and uploaded it to for safe keeping.

Follow my board Clara Bow on Pinterest.


  1. Great article! I'm linking to it from my Dance Like a DecoBelle book!