It (1927) – reviewed by George

This is the first Clara Bow movie I’ve ever seen, and knowing that this film labeled her forever as “The It Girl” is pretty much the extent of my knowledge about her life and career.
Well, she has “IT” in spades. She’s beautiful, but she also has wit, verve, a sense of humor, a contagious grin, and she’s feisty and strong and quick on the uptake.
And I’m not talking about the character Bow is playing, but about the emotions that move across her face in this silent movie.
Betty Lou Spence (Bow) is a lingerie salesgirl at Waltham’s (the World’s Largest Store). Cyrus W. Waltham is leaving the store in his son’s hands while he goes on an extended hunting trip, and Cyrus Jr. (Antonio Moreno) feels totally up to the task. His friend Monty (William Austin) comes to keep him company, figuring that little work will get done, but Cyrus is deadly serious about doing well in his father’s absence. So as Cyrus reads reports Monty wanders the office and finds a magazine which seems to be serializing the novel “It” by Madame Elinor Glyn, the top women’s writer of the 1920’s. He reads, “‘It’ is that peculiar quality which some persons possess, which attracts others of the opposite sex. The possessor of ‘It” must be absolutely unselfconscious, and must have that magnetic “sex appeal” which is irresistible.” And further down the page, “Mothers spoil boys with “It” – women never refuse them favors.” Monty then looks in a mirror and proclaims, “Old fruit, you’ve got ‘It’!”
Then he studies Cyrus so critically that Cyrus bursts out, “What the devil are you doing?” Monty replies, “No – too bad – but you haven’t any ‘It’!” And Cyrus says, “Run away, Monty. The keepers are coming.”
Now, at about six and a half minutes in, we see Clara Bow being charming to a wife while not engaging the husband at all. And a clever girl she is – the contrast between the wife and Betty Lou is extreme. Cyrus walks through on an inspection tour, and all the salesgirls are impressed. Betty Lou says, “Sweet Santa Claus, give me him!”
The print I got from Netflix is a restoration made in 1978, produced by David Gill and Kevin Brownlow for Thames Television. The picture quality is wonderful, and the new score by Carl Davis is really exceptional. It gives the film a very modern feel, even though you have to admit that the material is really timeless.
And Madame Glyn plays a cameo of herself briefly explaining “It” to Cyrus in front of his girlfriend, the very rich Adela Van Norman (Jacqueline Gadsdon) and her mother Mrs Van Norman (Julia Swayne Gordon). And Glyn has “It” too. Only after the scene was over did I realize that while she was in frame I didn’t look at anyone else.
The film was directed by Clarence Badger, Story and Adaptation by Elinor Glyn, Screen Play by Hope Loring and Louis D. Lighton.
I really loved this movie and plan to watch it again before I send it back, I also will be trying to find other Clara Bow movies, because I was so delighted by her and her wondrous talent.

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