We gave it a B-
With her flirtatious Betty Boop eyes and voluptuous body that seemingly couldn’t be still for a second, Bow was the ’20s It Girl — Hollywood’s first modern sex symbol and the prototype for all those that followed, from Harlow to Monroe to Madonna. Of the three films in Kino’s new Clara Bow series (which includes The Plastic Age and Parisian Love), it’s 1927’s It, in which Bow plays a shop girl trying to woo a stuffy department store owner, that best captures her rambunctious allure. Unsurprisingly, Bow’s offscreen life, as revealed in a companion documentary, Clara Bow: Discovering the It Girl (narrated, appropriately enough, by Courtney Love; also sold separately), was often dismal. (Her mother, like Monroe’s, was institutionalized for mental illness.) But on screen, and nearly 70 years after her retirement to a life of unease, Bow’s flapper spunk remains utterly contemporary.