Clara Bow

<< < (2/13) > >>

Jennifer Murdoch:

Registration form for the acting contest Clara Bow won, 16 years old.

Jennifer Murdoch:

Magazine shot
Date    late 1921

Jennifer Murdoch:

Clara Bow. Publicity photo for film "Down to the Sea in Ships"
Date    1922

Jennifer Murdoch:

Jennifer Murdoch:
Early years

In the early 1920s, roughly 50 million Americans—half the population at that time—attended the movies every week.[23] As Bow grew into womanhood, her stature as a "boy" in her old gang became "impossible." As well, she didn't have any girlfriends, school was a "heartache" and home "miserable." On the silver screen, however, she found consolation; "For the first time in my life I knew there was beauty in the world. For the first time I saw distant lands, serene, lovely homes, romance, nobility, glamor". And further; "I always had a queer feeling about actors and actresses on the screen ... I knew I would have done it differently. I couldn't analyze it, but I could always feel it.".[12] "I'd go home and be a one girl circus, taking the parts of everyone I'd seen, living them before the glass."[24] At sixteen Bow says she "knew" she wanted to be a motion pictures actress, even if she was a "square, awkward, funny-faced kid."[12]

Against her mother's wishes but with her father's support, Bow competed in Brewster publications' magazine's annual nationwide acting contest; "Fame and Fortune", in fall 1921. In previous years, other contest winners had found work in the movies.[25] In the contest's final screen test Bow was up against an already scene-experienced woman who did "a beautiful piece of acting". A set member later stated that when Bow did the scene she actually became her character and "lived it."[26] In the January issues 1922 of Motion Picture Classics the contest jury, Howard Chandler Christy, Neysa Mcmein, and Harrison Fisher, concluded:

    "She is very young, only 16. But she is full of confidence, determination and ambition. She is endowed with a mentality far beyond her years. She has a genuine spark of divine fire. The five different screen tests she had, showed this very plainly, her emotional range of expression provoking a fine enthusiasm from every contest judge who saw the tests. She screens perfectly. Her personal appearance is almost enough to carry her to success without the aid of the brains she indubitably possesses."


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page