Calling All Hard-Boiled Maidens: Clara Bow in Dorothy Arzner’s The Wild Party Screens on August 1 in 35mm

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, August 1 @ 7:30 PM
Directed by Dorothy Arzner • 1929
Clara Bow’s first talkie The Wild Party is best remembered as the film that brought Hollywood the boom mic: director Dorothy Arzner tied a microphone to a fishing pole to give Bow greater ease of movement on set. But this piece of technical innovation is far from the only reason The Wild Party is a remarkable film. As in Arzner’s other work (including Working Girls, which CFS screened last summer), it takes a standard flapper premise and turns it into something singular. Stella (Bow) is not only a party girl at Winston College for Women, she’s also an HBM (“hard-boiled maiden,” according to a sign Stella hangs in her room) that could give any modern HBIC a run for her money. That groups of men from the roadhouse to the frat house try to aggressively coerce Stella and her friends into sex feels unnervingly appropriate for 2018, just as Stella’s gutsy resistance to it feels like a refreshing cause for optimism. Meanwhile, though the plot is ostensibly about Stella’s budding romance with Professor Gil (Frederic March), the intimate body language and expressions of emotional commitment between Stella and her best friend Helen suggest which relationship is really most important. (JR)
77 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Universal
Short: “Boys Will Be Boys” (George Stevens, 1932) – 20 min – 35mm

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