Friday, February 13, 2009

It (1927)

"IT" is that quality possessed by some which draws all others with its magnetic force. 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.
Elinor Glyn

Director: Clarence G. Badger
USA 1927
72 min

In the 1920's people were talking about whether they got "it" or not. The idea of "it" was introduced to the crowds via the popular novelist Elinor Glyn's book with the same title. Throughout her life she came to describe the meaning of "it" in many different ways, but altogether you can state that "it" is an eufemism for "sex appeal". And it is that expression that this film circles around.

Betty Lou Spence (Bow), a girl who obviously has got a lot of "it", works as a shop girl in a department store. One day she lays her eyes on the handsome owner, Cyrus Waltham Jr (Antonio Moreno) and decides that she is going to lay her hands on him. She does so by accepting a dinner invitation by his best friend Monty (William Austin) and tells him that they will dine on The Ritz, where she knows Waltham is dining with his girlfriend.
Her plan works. She draws his attention and goes on a date with him. Unfortunately things get a bit more complicated when a news reporter mistakenly writes about her in the news paper as a single mother.

Scene: Betty Lou spends an evening at the beach with her boss Cyrus Waltham.

This film really got to me. It was amazingly amusing. The only thing that may show that a lot of years have passed since the making of it is Mr Waltham's reaction on Betty as an unwed mother. Good heavens, now he can't see any future with her!
Clara Bow is a divine woman. If I wasn't convinced before I saw the move that she had "it", I have proof for it now. She is charmingly aware of her beauty and sex appeal, making her mor attractive when she tries to look innocent and sweet. Few actresses could have done that double-edged part in a convincing way like Bow did, because after all - Clara Bow is Betty Lou.
Also, kudos to Moreno as the handsome and respectable Waltham, and kudos to William Austin for the role of the ridiculous but charming Monty.

Two appearances are extra notable:
Elinor Glyn stars as herself for a minute or two at The Ritz, describing to Mr Waltham how to define "it".
The other appearance is that of someone not yet famous. When I saw the news reporter I thought "Hey! That looks like Gary Cooper!". And guess what? It was.


[Betty Lou first lays eyes on Cyrus Waltham Jr]
Betty Lou Spence: Sweet Santa Claus, give me *him*!

Betty Lou: So you're one of those Minute Men - the minute you meet a girl you think you can kiss her!


The Maiden said...

A wonderful post on a film I adore. Clare Bow is my favorite flapper and watching this film is always nostalgic really :)

Lolita said...

The Maiden:
Thanks a lot! Yes, for a while now I think Clara Bow is my greatest idol and icon!