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Clara Bow: Discovering the It Girl (1999)

TV Movie  |  Unrated  |   |  Documentary, Biography
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 168 users  
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Clara Bow: Discovering the 'It' Girl features scenes from 25 of her films, as well as interviews with family members an acquaintances. Including seven minutes of additional material not seen in the TV version.



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Complete credited cast:
Herself - Narrator (voice)
Himself - Clara's Biographer
Himself - Author and Screenwriter
Catherine Mulligan ...
Herself - Clara's Friend
Rex Bell Jr. ...
Himself - Clara's Son
Herself - Clara's Co-Star in 'Helen's Babies' 1924 (as Diana Sera Carey)
Himself - Film Critic and Historian
Himself - Producer at Paramount
Marion Shilling ...
Marge Marshall ...
Herself - Clara's Friend
Himself - Clara's co-star in 'Wings' (voice) (as Buddy Rogers)


Clara Bow: Discovering the 'It' Girl features scenes from 25 of her films, as well as interviews with family members an acquaintances. Including seven minutes of additional material not seen in the TV version.

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The real "It" girl
20 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Clara Bow personified flapper exuberance, beauty, and sexuality on the screen. This documentary, "Clara Bow: Discovering the It Girl" tells her personal and professional story with screen clips, photos, and interviews with family, friends, and biographer David Stenn.

Bow was an amazing looking woman - a Kewpie doll face, round, with huge, expressive eyes, a brilliant smile, and thick, luxurious hair. But that was only part of the package. She POPPED. While on the screen, you couldn't take your eyes off of her for one second. She exuded a flamboyance as well as a wide emotional range.

Like many people who seek the spotlight, Bow had a disorganized, lonely, and sad childhood. Eventually she found public life too difficult and retired - in fact, she developed such a violent distaste for it that when her husband, Rex Bell, ran for a government position, she attempted suicide.

Most fascinating about the documentary is the sound of Bow's lovely voice, not only in talkies, which she dreaded entering, but later, when she was living alone in Los Angeles. She taped herself reading Shakespeare and other works - obviously, the actress in her still needed to express herself in some way. The readings impressed her son, Rex Bell Jr., (though he said he and his brother would slip into another room when she started taping) who knew nothing of her work in films until later. On seeing her work, he said, "I saw all those expressions on her face - why, I had seen those every day of my life." He was in awe.

The only negative thing about this documentary is the voice-over by, of all people, Courtney Love. Apparently someone saw some sort of connection between her and Bow - I'm not exactly sure what that would be, but speaking is not Courtney Love's strong suit. First of all, in describing the life of this ebullient woman, Love does so in a dull tone and, worse, mumbles. A poor choice. Otherwise, a wonderful documentary on one of the greatest stars in film history.

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