“Sweet Santa, give me him.”
A wealthy fop (William Austin) becomes smitten with a perky shopgirl (Clara Bow) who he believes epitomizes a certain brand of sexual magnetism known as “It”; meanwhile, Bow falls for Austin’s handsome friend (Antonio Moreno), whose parents own the department store where she works.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Clara Bow Films
- Cross-Class Romance
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Morality Police
- Silent Films
Clara Bow (arguably cinema’s first sex symbol) is best known for her leading role in this iconic silent film, playing a shopgirl whose possession of “It” lands her an indirect opportunity to pursue the man of her dreams. While the narrative itself is not all that inventive (there’s little here we haven’t seen before in other romantic comedies), what makes the film worth a look is the presence of Bow, who starred in dozens of enormously popular flicks throughout the 1920s, but whose must-see filmography likely can be boiled down to this film and Wings (1927). I find Bow charming and cute, and understand her iconic status as the ultimate Flapper, but I’ll admit to not particularly understanding why she alone — among all the many beautiful shopgirls the camera pans during an early scene — epitomizes “It” (or at the very least, how one can know this from simply looking at her).
With that said, she does a fine job playing the film’s spunky, loyal heroine — a woman who willingly lies about being her roommate’s son’s mother, to prevent him from being taken away by authorities — and thus she eventually convinces us she’s very much an “It” girl worth desiring.
Note: Film fanatics interested in learning more about Bow’s tragic life story should check out the informative and compassionate 1999 documentary Clara Bow: Discovering the It Girl (narrated by Courtney Love).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Clara Bow as Betty Lou Spence
Yes, simply to see Bow in her most iconic role. Listed as a film with Historical Importance in the back of Peary’s book.
- Historically Relevant
- Noteworthy Performance(s)