Louise Brooks-The serious sophisticated flapper
Colleen Moore-The good girl flapper
and Louise Brooks-The sexy flapper:
In fact Brook's is very prescient of another vintage star who came along decades later, Marilyn Monroe. (Monroe even did a 1958 photo shoot where she dressed up as Bow).
Bow's seductive comic charms are on excellent display in the 1926 film Man Trap.
The film is basically a comic love triangle. Ralph Prescott is a stressed out New York Lawyer with an office full of flappers suing for divorce.
After one blonde haired bobbed client plays footsie with him under the desk (in a pair of adorable diamante buckled heels) He snaps.
Desperate for a break from the modern women he decides to go on a vacation in outdoorsy "he man" country. He settles on an isolated backs wood area known as, Man Trap.
Tired of the woods and the lack of feminine companionship he decides to take a brief vacation in Minneapolis. While there he meets Alverna, a charming manicurist played by Bow.
A few weeks pass and the film returns to Ralph, the New York lawyer is not enjoying his out doorsy vacation as much as he had hoped.
Joe stumbles upon Ralph, miserable and wet in the woods and agrees to take him back to his cabin. Ralph is thrilled to go, until he glimpses Joe's wife, Alverna. It seems right after the dinner date Joe and Alverna headed to the preacher. Alverna is clad in a charming gingham country frock, but her flapper spirit is shining through.
Soon Alverna is flirting shamelessly with Ralph who is simultaneously attracted and repelled.
Alverna throws a wild back woods 1920s jazz party
and smolders in a checked wool dressing gown while Ralph keeps watch for hostile Indians.
Soon Ralph can take the temptation no more and not wanting to hurt Joe's feelings he decides to head back to the city.
Alverna though, is sick of country life, and runs away following Ralph and planning on getting him to take her to the city.
At first Ralph refuses
to let her come along, but fearing for her safety in the woods he soon relents.
The trip back to civilization doesn't go smoothly. Ralph's guide absconds with their food and Alverna flirts with a helicopter patrolman. By the time Joe catches up with them, the new couple are quarreling.
Joe and Ralph set to bickering over Alverna and complaining about her flirting. Alverna quickly gets fed up with the conversation and laughing, heads off to Minneapolis in Joe's boat.
I truly wish the film had ended here. Alverna is obviously not the marrying kind and would never be happy living isolated in the woods, but this is a 1926 film and films of this time didn't truly embrace liberated women. So sadly the film does not end here.
Ralph returns to New York, refreshed from his vacation and prepared to deal with flapper divorcees and Alverna, after a brief break in the city, goes back home to Joe. Soon she's begging Joe for forgiveness and he's eagerly embracing her. Alverna isn't so easily chastised though, over Joe's shoulder she glimpses a handsome park ranger and soon she's back to her flirting ways!
Man Trap is directed by Victor Fleming:
Who would go on to make The Wizard of Oz. It has been fully restored and has excellent picture quality. Man Trap isn't available for streaming but the DVD can be purchased on Amazon for $16.95. It's essential viewing for any fan of Clara's charming silent comedy.