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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cinema Spotlight-1926's Man Trap Starring Clara Bow

When it comes to 1920s silent film flappers there was triumvirate of stars:

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.





Meanwhile, a trapper named Joe living in Man Trap is having the opposite problem.  




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.





Opposites attract and soon Joe and Alverna are going on a dinner date.



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.  

11 comments:

  1. I'm glad she kept flirting. This movie looks like a hoot.

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  2. We didn't nose anythingy about Clara Bow until we read one of your earlier posts.
    Aren't the outfits amazing, a time when peeps really dressed well
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

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  3. Wow, she does love flirting! Sounds like a fun film :-)

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  4. Looks like a good film. Their make up was always so flawless in those days.
    Lynne x

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  5. Some incredible films were made along time ago.

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  6. What a fun little recap. I've heard of/seen pics of Clara Bow, but never seen one of her movies.

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  7. I've seen Man Trap -- I expect the original audience was misled by the title -- on purpose. Incidentally, that full color photo is from a Life magazine shoot by Richard Avedon of Marilyn Monroe posing as other famous movie stars. (1958)

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  8. I've seen Man Trap -- I expect the original audience was misled by the title -- on purpose. Incidentally, that full color photo is from a Life magazine shoot by Richard Avedon of Marilyn Monroe posing as other famous movie stars. (1958)

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    Replies
    1. yes I know! I love all the picture in that shoot I particularly like the Lillian Russel one. I think Marilyn and Bow are very similar though in terms of their acting style, if not appearance thanks for commenting

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  9. The older I get, the more I appreciate and admire Clara. From her acting to her cultural impact to her awesome bobbed hair. Were I to ever take my look in a 20s direction, I know she'd be a huge inspiration to me on that front.

    Many hugs & happy Valentine's Day wishes,
    ♥ Jessica

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  10. I haven't watched many of these old films from the 20's but I love seeing the still shots of the hair styles and costumes!

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