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May 21, 2021

In this week's Clara Bow Acteurist Oeuvre-view episode, we're finally there: Clara's first two sound films, both from 1929. First, we engage in an extensive analysis of Dorothy Arzner's The Wild Party, Clara's talkie debut. The star plays a college girl rebelling against the Victorian strictures on campus sexuality, but yearning for the loftier aims of her studious roommate and the handsome new anthropology professor (played by Fredric March). One of 1929's great films, The Wild Party is a winning mixture of Austenesque coming-of-age moral trajectory and polymorphously perverse sensuality that only Bow and Arzner could pull off. But then, we get something much odder: Lothar Mendes' Dangerous Curves takes two tendencies of the Bow persona, her active heroism and her comic pathos, to their logical extremes. The result this produces at the movie's climax has to be seen to be believed. (Hint: it involves risking death in a clown suit.) But is Mendes crazy enough to pull off this crazy plot? And can the leads form a convincing romantic union after the sexlessness that's been imposed on them? 


Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:                  THE WILD PARTY (1929) [dir. Dorothy Arzner]

0h 55m 43s:                  DANGEROUS CURVES (1929) [dir. Lothar Mendes]



* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

*Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Find Elise’s latest film piece on Billy Wilder and 1930s Romantic Comedy

*And Read lots of Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

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