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The Vault: It (1927)


It's pretty entertaining, and an interesting view on what has and hasn't changed in society in the past 80ish years. Society is still pretty sexist and classist; the film makes some criticisms of these tendencies, but given the time it was made (1927), they aren't too sharp.

The film stars Clara Bow as the original and titular "It Girl."

The "It" that the film revolves around is the quality of being desirable without being self-conscious of the fact. The heroine exploits her it quality to wrap her rich boss all the way around her little finger, all while bending to his every whim. There's a bit of dissonance between who's actually pulling the strings in the relationship, but it's made clear that she wants to marry a rich man and live a life of leisure. So the film is not exactly civil rights movement material.

In fact, the whole production is reminiscent of the theory of the male gaze.

So there's enough going on in the film to get this socially conscious critic's non-existent back hairs to stand up, but it's still quite enjoyable. The film is buoyed by the charming performances of the lead actress and of the supporting cast.

It's also tremendously culturally significant, and fascinating inasmuch as you could take the exact same plot and transplant it into the 70s or 80s without changing a plot point and it would all fit. To demonstrate, it was pointed out to me that 16 Candles borrows heavily from It.

It is worth seeing, both as a light-hearted, if somewhat dated, comedy, and as a fascinating bit of cultural anthropology.

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