89 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2001
This is a review of the Kino DVD release of "It". Let's start by saying this is one of the most enjoyable silent films I've seen. This is entirely due to the presence of Clara Bow, whose dynamic performance never lets up for a second. This makes "It" one of the few silents that still works as entertainment rather than just an interesting slice of history. The reasons I think this DVD could have been even better lie with the fact that Kino has used the 1978 restoration version of this movie rather than the improved 1992 restoration. Whilst this 1978 restoration is still very good, the picture is slightly cropped. In other words, a small part of the picture at both the left & right and top & bottom of the screen is missing. This blemish is barely noticeable and does not really affect your viewing pleasure, especially as the picture quality itself is very impressive. Sure, there are marks and scratches here and there, but far less than you'd expect for a film well over 70 years old. The picture is generally quite sharp with decent contrast that only occasionally seems a little too harsh. I would rate the picture as being in the top 5% for movies of this age. The second reason this DVD could have been better is the music score. The 1992 restoration features a Carl Davis composition which is quite simply the best music score for a silent film you will ever hear...Unfortunately this DVD features a totally different score by William Perry. Whilst William Perry manages a perfectly adequate piano score that fits well with the movie it isn't a patch on Carl Davis' version. The "only" extra on this DVD is a documentary entitled "Discovering The It Girl". This only covers Clara Bow's life and career in a superficial way but we are treated to a wealth of movie clips. Contributions from people who knew Clara Bow also help make this a very enjoyable documentary. It's also worth noting that Kino previously released the movie and documentary on two separate VHS tapes. By buying them both on this one DVD instead of two videos you're actually saving yourself a few dollars! Notwithstanding the minor shortcomings, I definitely rate this DVD as a worthwhile purchase.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2004
Clara Bow stars in this wonderful silent film as Betty Lou Spence a shopgirl at Waltham's Department Store. When she first sees her boss, the handsome Cyrus Waltham, Jr. (played by Antonio Moreno), she falls for him and decides that he is to be her husband. But Waltham barely notices the shopgirl until his friend Monty Montgomery (comically played by William Austin) spies her at the counter and determines that she has "It," a certain type of sex appeal. With the help of Monty and her own "It" factor, Betty tries to win the man of her dreams.
This is a delightful romantic comedy, based upon the short story by Elinor Glyn -- who also makes a cameo appearance in the film. the acting is spot on, so much so that you don't even need the title cards. You can tell exactly what's going on. Clara Bow is amazing as Betty, with just the right charm and sex appeal. The great music accompaniment on this DVD was written by Carl Davis and matches the film perfectly.
A classic romantic comedy from the Silent Era.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2005
With each viewing of another Silent Film that "arrives" to my collection, my hunger and yearning for more and more Silents, increases considerably.
The edition of "IT" I got is the IMAGE-MILESTONE one and I must say it's GREAT!!
The films tells the story of a salesgirl's infatuation with the son of the owner of a Department Store in which she works.
Clara Bow's is just short of magnificent in a role that really defines her screen personae; that of the mischievous, sexy, bold, magnetic, electrifying, ultramodern and yet sweet girl/flapper.
She was 21 or 22 years old when she made this film and she looks so fresh and contemporary than other Silent Stars of that Era; and if you compare her looks and ways, even her acting, to that of the other women in the cast (Priscilla Bonner, Jacqueline Gadsden, Julia Swayne Gordon), you'll see what I mean.
Antonio Moreno is good as her Love interest, although he looks much older than her (he was 41 when the film was made) but then, considering this was 1927, he does not look as old as 41 year-old men of that time used to. Also, Moreno works well with Bow and their love scenes together are believable.
William Austin is great as Moreno's sidekick, funny and ever-partying.
Elinor Glyn, the authoress of the book upon which the film was based, makes a cameo in a Restaurant scene, making a grand entrance.
A young Gary Cooper has a small role as a journalist.
The quality of the transfer is really very good. IMAGE did an excellent job and the score by Carl Davis is one of the best I've listened to.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2004
IT is a lot more fun than a silent film has any right to be. The story is simply enough (think shop girl Cinderella fantasy,) the acting credible enough, and the editing competent enough to almost make title cards unnecessary. This is a movie that celebrates reaction shots. The biggest contributor, though, is cute, bubbly, down-to-earth sex goddess Clara Bow. To top it off, the Image release also boasts an informative commentary track, a remarkably clean print and a modern, custom-built score.
They had to play it coy back then, but today we can step out from behind the euphemisms and reveal the definition of "It" as sexual attractiveness. Even by modern standards the perky Bow had "It" in spades, especially when compared to such grotesque contemporaries as the ghoulish Theda Bara and the vulgar Mae West. After all these years Bow still looks cute and modern, while her rivals have faded into obscurity and decades of exaggerated parody.
I haven't the finer sensibilities needed to fully appreciate female-centric tales of the poor girl getting the rich boy. The plot seems thin, and the secondary characters a bit boring when Bow's not on the screen. Still, I have no problem enthusiastically recommending this to anybody.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2000
Until I saw this film recently, I never thought I would be able to sit through a silent film. I had read about Clara Bow, and was interested to see how she performed on screen. Although it is silent, her personality and vivaciousness shines. Her eyes just have so much expression...
The other actors are fine and the story line is all right, but Clara just takes this film and runs with it. No wonder that she became the It Girl upon the release of this movie!
Clara Bow was and is truly a film legend and deserves much more notice than she has received. What a wonderful film - worth watching again and again!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2002
A first-rate romantic-comedy sensation of its day, this precious little gem of a movie shows actress Clara Bow at the peak of her short-lived career. This is silent cinema at it best, showing the lighter side to the silent era.
Clearly, Clara Bow is the star here, front and center, but the supporting cast is fantastic as well. The story isn't particularly original, brilliant, or surprising, but then it doesn't have to be. In fact, it probably shouldn't be.
This Kino DVD is a fine transfer, with little grain, and looks sharp, clean, and wonedrfully clear considering its age. The soundtrack score is clean and fits well.
Clara Bow looks so adorable in this film that its hard not to fall in love with her as you watch this film. It's just such a charming little romantic piece full of cuteness and playfulness, just like Bow herself.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2002
For a few brief years in the mid 1920s, Clara Bow stood above all Hollywood as the new kind of female lead. All other actresses may have been beautiful, sexy, or even talented, but their talent was used only to bounce off their male leads. These females could radiate only a virginal sort of charm, one that could be accepted or rejected by her suitor. Clara Bow changed all that. In her very first film, Bow, looking like a twenties combination of a zesty Cindy Lauper with a sizzling Marilyn Monroe, bounced all over the screen, radiating from her face that she was a woman who was not bashful about getting what she wants. By 1927, Bow, only 22, was already a star. Hollywood was determined to use her sexual presence to elevate her to unheard of levels. The problem was that the word 'sex' was a no-no; however the word 'it' was not. The would-be producers of Bow's next film looked to a hack writer named Elinor Glynn for a lead that would let them sell sex, even if it meant using a pseudonym. For an unspecified large sum, Glynn gave them permission to use her copywrighted 'it' as the fulcrum to build the first female smoldering superstar. The name of the film, of course, was IT, and so Clara Bow was forever associated as the girl who had 'it.' The plot was rather simple. She plays a shopgirl who has to explain the unwanted presence of a baby in order to snag her boss. During the film, all of her trademark techniques are used: huge smiles, hair fluffing, direct pursuit of her man, rapid-fire dialogue, and a willingness to tell the Establishment to go to hell. By the end of he film, she has her man, and Hollywood had its superstar.
Even today, watching IT is a lesson that eternally repeats itself. Talent,in whatever medium, will showcase itself. Clara Bow had that and it as well. It took Jean Harlow to pick up the baton that Clara Bow held out for the next worthy contender for her title.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2011
If you're reading this, you're curious about Clara Bow. Clara is delightful!
But my comments may help you to choose the version which suits you.
The Kino version is the original restoration, with an acceptable transfer.
Included is a documentary about Clara's career.
The Milestone version is the later restoration, with a pristine transfer.
It features a remarkable orchestral score by Carl Davis (Napoleon and The French Lieutenant's Woman).
The gem on the Milestone DVD is the superb commentary track by Jeanine Basinger, Professor of Film Studies, Wesleyan University.
For those curious about Clara Bow, and the Silent era, the Kino version is acceptable.
For serious collectors, the Milestone version is highly recommended.
(Still available from Milestone.)
Also highly recommended is David Stenn's biography of Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild.
Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
One of the most popular writers of the roaring 20s was "Madame" Elinor Glynn--a middle-aged and decidedly matronly-looking woman who fancied herself as the arbiter of all things pertaining to sex-appeal. Madame Glynn called sex-appeal IT, wrote a book by that name, and then made considerable money informing the public who had IT and who didn't. And Madame Glynn declared that the little known actress Clara Bow had IT, and that Clara would star in a movie called IT.
It was a put-up job, of course, with Madame Glyn handsomely paid (and given a cameo appearance in the movie) for her trouble. But it would have all been naught--except for the fact that Clara Bow really did have IT. She turned in an extra-charming performance and shot to stardom as the "IT" girl.
Make no mistake about it: Bow is a LOT of fun to watch, a doll-like beauty with an infectious smile and bubbly energy. And IT, the very slight story of a shop girl smitten with love for the big boss (Antonio Moreno), is tailor-made to display her charms; comic actor William Austin also has several good moments as Bow's would-be suitor. Clara Bow would appear in considerably more sophistocated films later in her career, but IT provides a great introduction to one of the most adorable actresses to grace the silent screen. Recommended.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2005
Even though Clara Bow had been a star for a few years before this film came out, there's no denying it's her most famous and best-remembered today (except maybe for 'Wings'). Watching this delightful story, it becomes obvious why she really did have "It" in spades, such effortless sex appeal, spunk, charm, personality, charisma, and presence, the kind of traits that rivet one to the screen. This film could have been made with any actors, but Clara makes it really come to life and makes you want to watch it, because of her strong screen presence and personality, in a way not just any old actor was capable of doing. And part of her appeal is how she was like the girl nextdoor (albeit the very sexy girl nextdoor), from a solid working-class background and lifestyle, and that makes the audience root for her and sympathise with her over the snobby rich girl Adele, who is also vying for the affections of Cyrus. Even a lot of the title cards are charming, fun, cute, and sweet, all serving to elevate this beyond the level of your ordinary date movie or lighthearted romantic comedy. Times may have changed somewhat (for example, the subplot about Betty Lou's roommate Molly and her presumably illegitimate child and how the nosy spinsters want her to turn the baby over to social services may no longer mean anything to modern audiences who have no problem with an unmarried woman having a baby), but just because some parts of it might seem like products of an earlier time now doesn't diminish from the underlying charm, fun, and delight. I would also recommend the Milestone release over the Kino one.