Clara Bow’s Movies 7

Clara Bow’s twenty-first movie was Kiss Me Again, a silent romantic comedy direct by Ernst Lubitsch and released on 1 August, 1925. Clara played Grizette, a sexy Parisian secretary who bewitches her married boss. 

Lubitsch had the knack of sneaking material past the Hays Office censors. He used an audience’s imagination to make his suggestive point. 

In Kiss Me Again, Clara finally had a decent part in a decent movie. And she shone. Variety stated: “Clara Bow absolutely triumphs in the role of a lawyer’s steno.” 

Clara Bow’s twenty-second movie was Parisian Love, another cut-price B.P. Schulberg production filmed in early 1925 and released on August 1, 1925. Clara played Marie, an Apache. The plot of this romantic crime drama starts out well enough, but then becomes complex in the extreme. 

Clara was displaying talent, but the production company she was tied to lacked class. She needed a break. She also needed to sort out her love life, which was more complex than the plot of Parisian Love.

Clara Bow’s twenty-third movie was The Primrose Path, produced during the summer of 1925 and released on September 15, 1925. Clara played Marilyn Merrill. For this movie, Clara was on ‘loan-out’, a common occurrence for contract players. 

The Primrose Path was classified as a ‘daily change’ movie, a movie that played in a theatre for one day then moved on to another town. In other words, it wasn’t very good.

At this stage of her career, Clara was overworked – sixteen movies in eighteen months – and underpaid, but she was making progress. In June 1925, she appeared on the cover of Motion Picture Classic, her first cover feature. The accompanying article stated: “The truth is, little Clara Bow shows alarming symptoms of becoming the sensation of the year in Hollywood. There is something vital and compelling in her presence. She is the spirit of youth. She is Young America rampant, the symbol of flapperdom.”

Clara Bow’s twenty-fourth movie was The Keeper of the Bees, a silent drama released on September 19, 1925 at Salt Lake City. The movie went on general release on October 18, 1925.

The promotional blurb: “Joseph P. Kennedy presents Clara Bow in her greatest emotional triumph!” However, Variety stated: “Clara Bow acts all over the lot and aside from weeping (her specialty) and swirling around, does little.” 

At this stage of her career, B.P. Schulberg was still farming Clara out to substandard productions.

Clara Bow’s twenty-fifth movie was Free to Love, released on November 20, 1925. Clara played Marie Anthony, a woman falsely accused of murder. Producer B.P. Schulberg was still content to churn out movies at pace – he reduced the shooting time from three weeks to two – rather than focus on quality. A shame, because Free to Love’s noirish plot – before noir was ‘invented’ – had something going for it.

Filmed during the summer of 1925 and released on December 15, 1925, Clara Bow’s twenty-sixth movie was The Plastic Age, a breakthrough movie professionally and personally. Clara played Cynthia Day in a tale of “flaming youth in rebellion”. 

With a bigger budget and a decent director, Wesley Ruggles, Clara was offered a chance to shine. And she did to the extent that through this movie she became a major star.

When the film company travelled to Pomona College in Claremont for location shooting, male extras, including Clark Gable, greeted Clara’s appearance each morning with wolf whistles. She captivated everyone on the set, and movie audiences when The Plastic Age went on general release.

In addition, Clara also enjoyed her “first really big love experience” with her co-star, Luis Antonio Damaso de Alonso who was billed in this, and future movies, as Gilbert Roland. 

The Plastic Age revealed Clara’s potential. She was on the road to stardom, with all that that entailed.

1920s – 1960s