The Wild Party

Clara Bow’s movies have dated in the most charming manner imaginable: no other female star of the 20s tells us as much about flappers, and in their own idiom too. This 1929 feature (her first talkie) bears no relation to Joseph Moncure March’s ribald 1928 poem: the plot, which has to do with Bow falling for her anthropology professor (Fredric March) at a women’s college, benefits from the direction by Dorothy Arzner, a specialist in female camaraderie. Because she spoke with a working-class Brooklyn accent, Bow worried that the microphone would kill her career; although she made only eight more pictures after this one, she handles herself here with admirable aplombespecially considering that Paramount gave her only two weeks to prepare. 77 min. (JR)

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