‘Clara Bow: Runnin Wild’ By David Stenn is a biography about the tragic life of ‘It Girl’ icon Clara Bow. No doubt, many classic film fans are familiar with Clara’s poverty-stricken upbringing and the facts that her career lasted only a few years when “Talkies” replaced silent films, and that she suffered from schizophrenia in her later years. For those like myself, who wanted to know more about Clara, this biography provided a well-researched, neatly-written, concise approach to fill in the blanks.
It was pleasant to read a biography that did not sensationalize or place undue judgment on its subject or her chaotic lifestyle. The biography tried to arrange the facts so that the reader can sympathize and find compassion for the person that was Clara Bow. Clara was not just the “It Girl” but also one of the first Sex Icons of the silver screen. She was also polar-opposite from her onscreen persona, always struggling to uphold it in reality. Clara may have been a blunt, care-free individual, but she was not exactly as loose as the studio-generated press used to accompany such a persona. For example, have you ever heard of the rumor involving Clara Bow and the University of South California Football Team? Stenn investigates and tells what really happened. Stenn also offers reason Bow’s career ended sooner than anyone had wanted – Bow’s mental and physical health could not take it anymore. Finally, she had had enough of the hypocrisy, the greed and the madness that was Hollywood. If only she had left sooner, Clara Bow could have saved herself and able to tell her own story.
Honest articles and interviews of Clara Bow are hard to come by, but David Stenn's book is a detailed and comprehensive resource for one of the biggest stars of the early film era. It was a refreshing and easy read. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in enlightening their classic film knowledge and learning about this extraordinary actress and strong person who, no matter what, will always be “It.”
*I borrowed a copy of "Clara Bow: Runnin Wild" By David Stenn from my local library.*