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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The “IT” Girl…

Clara Bow: Running Wild by David Stenn.

Product Details
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Cooper Square Press (March 13, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0815410255



Book Description

Hollywood's first sex symbol, the ' It ' girl, Clara Bow was born in the slums of Brooklyn in a family plagued with alcoholism and insanity. She catapulted to fame after winning Motion Picture magazine's 1921 " Fame and Fortune" contest. The greatest box-office draw of her day—she once received 45,000 fan letters in a single month, Clara Bow's on screen vitality and allure that beguiled thousands, however, would be her undoing off-camera. David Stenn captures her legendary rise to stardom and fall from grace, her success marred by studio exploitation and sexual scandals.

Stunning realization to think this “silent movie star” was “before my time” when in reality she died the year I got married.  I think that makes her: not so much before my time.

I pick up biographies of celebs from “long ago” because I like to read about the “beginnings” of movies and Hollywood and how it all began.  Many biographies I am disappointed in because all it is a filmography.  They only talk about what movies they made in order of how they made them. 

I found this book somewhere in between.

The beginning of Clara Bows life was not one anyone would ask for.  And up until the time she entered a contest in hopes of being able to make movies her childhood was no better.  Having only reaching 7th grade in a rough time in history.. the odds aren’t good at making a better life for yourself.

All that happened to Clara when she was young had a very profound impact and made her into the woman she became.

My biggest shock was finding out when she died and that at my age then I should have known more and heard more about her than I did.  In my teenage youth, silent movies were “long gone” and so were many of those who made them.  One doesn’t realize the actors like Gary Cooper began with silent movies. We don’t think of it because we grew up seeing him in talking pictures.  But many did make the change.. we just don’t remember them that way.

The other big shock was how Paramount treated their biggest star.  Financially they abused and used her.  Something that would never happen in today's society.   But even with all of that Clara Bow managed to remain “The IT Girl” up to the end.

There were times in the book I wish it wasn’t so much about which movie she was making bit did absorb the facts of how terrified she was when she had to make her first talking motion picture.  Actors of today would go to a teacher of accents to try to duplicate Clara’s deep Brooklyn accent and her use of word’s such as “ain’t”.

I enjoyed the book but found it lacked the background (in general how things were and what was happening historically at the time). 

My favorite biography still remains to be Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy: The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy  by Simon Louvish.


Blogger Cath said...

I agree, I too find some of the biographies of actors a bit full of 'I did this play next or that film'. A bit tedious as often I never saw the play. Well 'always' as regards plays as I don't live in London... I'd often seen the films they might be talking of because of TV. Glad you still found a lot to like about it though, Pat. It can't have been easy to have been a woman acting in those times.

12:34 PM  
Blogger DesLily said...

cath: it's ok to do that but I want more then a list of movies and a list of conquests! lol

5:00 PM  
Blogger OldLady Of The Hills said...

I've not read this book...But, I do enjoy knoeing about the dilms people made as well as who they were in life and in their career....It sounds pretty good, to me.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Sounds like an interesting read. My mom LOVES biographies and autobiographies of these classic Hollywood stars. I will tell her about this one.

4:07 PM  
Blogger DesLily said...

ARGH!! i have to check "waiting moderation" more often! this was a pretty good book but the very best biography I've ever read (so far) is Stan & Ollie. a lot of background info and how people like Stan Laurel & Charlie Chaplin had to keep coming to America from England on ships since there was no overseas airplanes back then!

3:50 PM  

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