Monday, May 30, 2011

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum and sees IT

As in IT, starring Clara Bow, The "It" Girl (formerly the Brooklyn Bonfire, this is the movie that gave her the nickname that stuck).

But first a couple of shorts, on ladies night at Niles.

THE NEW YORK HAT (1912): Mary Pickford's mother passes away, leaving her a very special inheritance in the care of the pastor. See, with her miserly father she'll never need for food or shelter, but she will have no joy. So the pastor is in charge of money to buy her things she wants, but doesn't need. Of course, for some reason she doesn't know that. And when the pastor buys her a fancy new hat, gossipy tongues wag. Pretty funny.

THE DANGER GIRL (1916): A madcap Keystone comedy starring Gloria Swanson, sometimes dressed as a man. To be honest, I couldn't follow half of it, but it was pretty manic. Something about protecting her brother from marrying a "danger" girl.

Then a brief intermission, and the main show

IT (1927): Clara Bow, of course, in her most famous role. Based on the novel by Madame Elinor Glyn, who helpfully shows up in the movie to explain exactly what "It" is--pure, honest sex appeal. Clara Bow as Betty Lou, of course, has "It." So does her wealthy employer, Cyrus Waltham (Antonio Moreno). So they'd be a perfect match, as long as Cyrus' assistant Monty Montgomery (decidedly "It"-less comic relief courtesy of William Austin) doesn't get in the way. Of course, no good deed goes unpunished, and for helping her kind-hearted but down-on-her-luck neighbor keep her baby, Betty Lou gets branded with an undeserved reputation. But not even that can keep someone with "It" down. Brilliant and sexy, from when Hollywood knew how to make them that way.

Next week at Niles, check out Charlie Chaplin Days, with all the movies Charlie made in Niles (matinee shows) and the regular Saturday night show is THE KID with Jackie Coogan.

Total Running Time: 106 minutes
My Total Minutes: 236,875