It (1927) – Clarence G. Badger, and Josef von Sternberg

Philip Kemp’s Movies book brings me another classic from the silent film era, and while it’s a romantic comedy, some of the subject matter doesn’t quite stand up to the test of time. You’ll see what I mean as I get into the narrative below.

Having said that, it was a delightful little film, and Clara Bow who plays the film’s lead, Betty Lou, is simply engaging, and completely beguiling. Betty works in a department store run by Cyrus T. Waltham (Antonio Moreno) and is helping one of her friend’s out, Molly (Priscilla Bonner). They share an apartment, and Molly, an unwed mother (this is going to be the problem with this story) is trying to raise her baby on her own.

Whatever ‘It’ is Betty, and Clara both exude ‘it’, a comfortable self-awareness, and confidence. And she spots and falls for Cyrus, while his best friend, Monty (William Austin) spots her.

Cyrus is currently engaged to Adela (Jacqueline Gadsdon), but it’s very much going to be a marriage of convenience and profit for both, and Betty tries to find a way, using Monty, to get into Cyrus’ life.


Things go sideways for the potential couple as Molly’s baby is mistakenly claimed to be Betty’s and this infuriates both Monty and Cyrus who get all judgemental on her, and are upset that she could even have a child on her own, and attempt to raise it.

Of course, she gets her revenge, after a fashion, though I’m less than thrilled at some of the character’s behaviours and the beliefs they hold.

Outside of that, there’s a lot of this movie that is still light and entertaining, Monty is wonderfully goofy, Betty is simply enchanting, but I’ll be honest, I don’t see the appeal of Cyrus to Betty, but hey, to each their own.

Still, the date the pair have at a local carnival, and the fun house they go through looks like a lot of fun, and a huge safety risk nowadays.

Bow is wonderful in the film, and this is one of those actors that I’m stunned I had never heard of before, and am keen to explore some more of her films, especially the comedic ones, because she’s got that something.

So far this book, Movies, has introduced me to a couple of films I hadn’t seen or heard of before, so let’s see what else they can bring me.



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