Mar 22, 2010

Monday Serenade: Clara Bow Sings

Well, as you can see from this promo, Clara Bow wasn't meant to be a musical star. That said, she's awfully cute--and quite a sport for dancing and singing when she was terrified to even speak on film. After hearing the many stories of Bow's negative experiences with the talkies, I was so surprised to find that she actually had a charming speaking voice. It wasn't so much that she couldn't speak well, it's just that it frightened her to do it on film. I wish she had made more talkies, because she was charming in a whole new way when she spoke, but I'm happy she managed to at least star in a few.


  1. Did you notice how her eyes keeping drifting upwards -- for example, at 0:43, 0:56 and 1:06. She's looking at the boom mic hovering just above her head. This nervous tic kept getting worse until during one film, she physically attacked the microphone.

    You know, MGM gave Greta Garbo two years to prepare for her first sound picture. Paramount gave Clara Bow two weeks. B.P. Schulberg took the biggest star the studio had and chewed her up for no good reason other than very short term profits and then kicked her to the curb shortly thereafter.

    Basically, he took a delicate, high-strung thoroughbred and used her as a plow horse and then was perplexed when she broke down on the back forty.

    Unfortunately, a common story as Hollywood made the transition from silents to sound.

  2. If only those darn microphones could have been out of sight--Bow might have had a chance in talkies! She was wonderful in The Wild Party--the movie where she attacked that boom mic; can you imagine how great she would have been if she had her old confidence back? Schulberg never did give her a break, let alone a decent vacation. It's amazing she managed to work as long as she did, considering the pressure and her fragile emotional state.