Clara Bow Getting Ready for Dinner “with the boss” scene from It – And…Scene! Blogathon

It poster

In 1926, Clara Bow was already becoming a solid commodity in motion pictures. The irrepressible redhead had showed her range in a few dramas early on, but after her roles as naughty but nice Cynthia in The Plastic Age or the gold-digging manicurist Alvira in Mantrap, she had found her niche. She was the sexy, devil-may-care flapper who was the envy of every woman and the dream girl of every man.

When the writer Elinor Glyn (infamous for penning a tryst on a tiger-skin rug in Three Weeks) came to Hollywood, and Clara was selected as the lead for It, her career would never be the same.

Elinor_Glyn_02

The Divine Ms. Glyn

Upon meeting Clara for the first time, Glyn supposedly took Clara’s face in her hands and said, “You are my muse!” And crazy as it sounds, maybe she was. But it also may have been the other way around.

After It, Clara, who’d previously been billed as the Brooklyn Bonfire,  became The It Girl. And the 1920s ignited.

Audiences probably responded so positively because, other than the fun story and appealing cast, Clara was playing herself– salt of the earth, poor Brooklyn girl Betty Lou Spence. Not only that, but she was helping out her friend and co-worker, Molly (Priscilla Bonner) after the birth of Molly’s baby. She’s letting them stay with her until Molly can go back to work.

Now, I’m the least maternal person I know. I honestly don’t like kids– the crying and whining and carrying on sets my teeth on edge. But this baby (who Clara affectionately calls Toodles) is utterly adorable. They don’t make babies any cuter. Blonde, plump, and cherubic, and she bounces up and down, happy to see Clara.

Toodles

Okay, how freaking CUTE is this kid?

I saw Wings years ago, and I enjoyed it, but this was the movie that cemented my love for Clara. Because she’s the main attraction here. And this scene is why.

You see, Betty Lou has a crush on her department store owner boss, Cyrus Waltham (Antonio Moreno). Actually, he’s the real boss’s son, left in charge while Waltham, Senior is out of town. Betty thinks Cyrus is the cat’s pajamas. “Sweet Santa Claus, give me him!” she says, upon first seeing him.

She tries to get Cyrus’ attention, but is unsuccessful at first. However, Cyrus’s pal Monty (William Austin) is currently reading It, and he’s convinced Betty has it. He invites Clara to dinner, but she says “only if we go to the Ritz.” She overheard Cyrus telling Monty that he was going there.

Excitedly, she heads into her little flat, out of breath, and full of starry-eyed dreams of Cyrus.

Her interaction with Toodles the baby here is completely natural and so perfectly Clara. She makes faces, picks up the little nipper and holds her while Molly warms a bottle. Her eyes and eyebrows are a perfect concertina of expressions that are completely believable and expressive.

NothingtoWear

“Crap! What can I wear to the Ritz?

Realizing she’ll have to have a better frock than what she has, she decides to perform major surgery on the dress she wore to work, enlisting Molly’s help.

JustaLittleTrim

“A stitch in time saves nine, right?”

Ensuring her scissors are nice and sharp, she slices it right through the center of the bodice, then has Molly keep going with it, completely removing the massive lace collar. In her inimitable Clara way, she goofs around, wearing the lace collar as a hat, and wincing in pain when Molly accidentally jabs her with the scissors.

Black Dress

“Hey Molly, a little to the right”

After a look away at Clara’s competition, snooty Adela Van Norman (Jacqueline Gadsden), we’re back just in time for an application of talc (in a black dress? Shah, right…), and the Betty Lou pulls the (presumably now basted) frock back over her head.

ShowertoShower

“Hand me that Shower to Shower, willya?”

She gives us a glimpse of well turned ankle, then drapes a sheer scarf over her head, adding instant glamour. then, she attaches some flowers to the waist of her dress (they did that back then. In my granny Smith’s wedding picture from 1919, they did the same thing).

VeraWang

“Vera Wang, eat your heart out!

With the addition of the sheer scarf over her already state-of-the-art bob, Betty Lou comes off like a carefree millionairess, and purrs at the camera, lowering those eyelids and convincing anyone and everyone that she really does have It. Monty is already convinced, but Cyrus takes a bit longer to see. After a misunderstanding involving Molly’s baby, things are finally resolved at a yacht party. We see Clara play a ukulele, Clara frolic, and Clara be Clara basically.

Of course she gets the guy (and leaves poor Adela in the dust), but we all knew that would happen anyway. She has It.

Clara&Antonio

“Hey, Cyrus, let me impress you with my mad ukulele skillz”

Wanna watch for yourself? NeilAvon at youtube has kindly posted the scene for your enjoyment: Watch the Dressing for Dinner scene…

And go check out the other And…Scene!” Blogathon entries (read more here at Sister Celluloid’s blog). Good stuff…

The Movie Rat     The repeated scene in Persona

Cinephilia     The scene after Harry’s wedding in It’s a Wonderful Life

Le Mot du Cinephiliaque     The first scene where Jeff snoops on his neighbors in Rear Window

Cary Grant Won’t Eat You     The courtroom scene in I’m No Angel

MovieFanFare     The Maharaja scene from Three Little Pirates

Another Old Movie Blog     Favorite scene in Katie Did It

Vienna’s Classic Hollywood     The “Maida revealed” scene in In Name Only

Old Hollywood Films     The filibuster scene in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Nitrate Glow     The “descent into the lair” scene in the 1925 version of Phantom of the Opera

Girls Do Film     The “bumpy night” scene in All About Eve

Movies Silently     The fight scene in Tol’able David

Movie Movie Blog Blog     The Looking for Trouble scene in The French Line

Second Sight Cinema     The stoop scene in The More the Merrier

Caftan Woman     Favorite scene in The Searchers

BNoirDetour     The Put the Blame on Mame scene in Gilda

Gina Dalfonzo     The drunk scene in The Philadelphia Story

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies     The “house plan” scene in Blandings Builds His Dream House

Vivien Leigh Legend     The opening scene in Gone With the Wind

Critica Retro     The funhouse scene in The Lady from Shanghai

Wolffian Classic Movies Digest     The shower scene in Psycho

Back to Golden Days     The gin rummy scene in Born Yesterday

Writer’s Rest     The porch scene in It’s a Gift

Wide Screen World     The “Barton gets suspicious” scene in Double Indemnity

The Wonderful World of Cinema     The opening scene in To Be or Not to Be

Back to the Viewer     The grapefruit scene in Public Enemy

Defiant Success     The party scene in Seconds

The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood     The final scene in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Sister Celluloid     The love scene in D.O.A. (yes, there is one!)

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7 thoughts on “Clara Bow Getting Ready for Dinner “with the boss” scene from It – And…Scene! Blogathon

  1. […] Sepia Stories     The “getting ready for dinner with the boss” scene in It […]

  2. Ta-da! And Clara is ready to go. It all seems so naturally, so easy and, you are right, so absolutely Clara. Who can resist?

  3. Just watched this again in a theater recently, and it was fun to see the crowd so into it. I LOVE this scene. It’s so much fun to watch Bow hamming it and being so daring as to make up a dress on the spot–and pull it off.

  4. Michaela says:

    I love this scene! “It” is one of my favorite silents, and I was devastated when I lost it on my DVR. Clara Bow was so great in this movie–and young Gary Cooper played a bit as a reporter when the baby is almost taken from Molly and Bow claims that it’s hers. Great choice!

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