"Bow"dacious Double Feature.
Chip Kaufmann | Asheville, N.C. United States | 04/05/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD double feature of Clara Bow at the beginning and during the thick of her career gives us a fascinating glimpse of one of the most popular silent stars. DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS (1922) was shot when Clara was only 16 by D.W. Griffith protege' Elmer Clifton. Her part is only a supporting one but you can clearly see the star potential there. The main focus of this film is not the romance between the two leads but rather the detailed scenes of New Bedford whalers plying their trade. This makes the film a fascinating historical document which is not for the squeamish as it contains actual and graphic footage of the killing and dismembering of whales. What you see is MOBY DICK for real. This print taken from the Killiam Collection is in good shape although it seems a little fast at times. It is much better than the old VHS version put out by Critic"s Choice some years back.
PARISIAN LOVE (1925) was made only 3 years later but what a difference in Clara's appearance. Here she is the star and fully displays the vivacious charm and charisma that made her so popular. The story of French Apache lovers and their benefactor is a little hard to follow probably due to some missing footage and features some rather curious interplay between the male leads. The sets of Parisian garrets are marvelous and Lillian Leighton steals the show as a Marie Dressler like matriarch at a swanky party. This DVD copy was taken from the only surviving print which was discovered in 1998 and restored by the UCLA Film and Televison Archive. All in all an interesting combination of 1920's style romance with rugged documentary style footage and the chance to see Clara Bow develop from a Mary Pickford like tomboy into a full fledged star. Yet another fine job from Kino International in their ongoing series of silent film presentations on DVD."
Becoming Clara Bow
Mark Pruett | 06/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Viewers who seek out this Clara Bow double feature will likely compare it to IT, the 1927 charmer to which all of her films are compared sooner or later, the film that finally captured the most naturally exuberant (and unnaturally wounded) personality in silent film. Bow had made more than 30 films in the five years preceding IT, only a handful of which survive in any condition. Even her minor films, therefore, are impossible to ignore. DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS shows us Bow in 1922, barely 17 years old and fresh as rain. In her small role as a long-haired tomboy, she neither poses nor emotes; she is simply herself at 17. The part offers few hints of the luscious flapper whose unembarrassed sensuality would one day startle even Elinor Glyn and deluge Paramount with nearly fifty thousand fan letters a month. PARISIAN LOVE, released three years after DOWN TO THE SEA, teases us with glimpses of the It Girl-to-be. But they are tantalizing glimpses: the long tresses are gone, replaced by a pushed-up, snip-sprung, crazy-tilt hairdo that eases our entry into the softest, most haunted eyes that ever looked out of a movie screen. The silly plot is forgettable; Bow is not. PARISIAN LOVE should serve as the springboard to a much better Bow film from 1925, THE PLASTIC AGE (available from Image in a twofer with THE SHOW OFF)."
A minor masterpiece
Lisa C. Mckenna | Blue Mountains, Sydney, NSW Australia | 05/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"i bought this dvd on a whim not knowing what to expect as neither film is acknowledged as one of the great silent movies'but i was pleasently surprised by both.down to the sea in ships is the best directed of the two and features some wonderful whaling sequences and beautiful shots of new bedford,also it has a wonderful ensemble cast especially margerete courtot as the young woman forced into a loveless marriage.parisian love is also a treat for silent fans as it features the wonderful donald keith at the outset of his distinguished carear.all in all a great double feature dvd"