Newly preserved silent films with Clara Bow and Mary Philbin will be screened by the academy


Clara Bow was the “it” girl of Hollywood during the final decade of silent movies. She starred in six Paramount productions in 1927, including her seminal comedy “It” and the first Oscar-winning best film, “Wings.”

Whereas Bow was the epitome of the lively, devil-may-care flapper, delicate beauty Mary Philbin was much more the shy “child-woman” of the era. She was best known for her role as Christine in the Lon Chaney version of “The Phantom of the Opera.”

These actresses star in two recently preserved rarities that will be presented Monday at Linwood Dunn Theater by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in conjunction with the Mary Pickford Foundation.


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The 1927 romantic comedy “Get Your Man,” starring Bow and Buddy Rogers, is a bubbly romantic comedy about a young woman in Paris who falls for a nobleman. The problem is he’s about to walk down the aisle in an arranged marriage. It’s up to Bow to discover how to get her man. The hit marked the third film directed by Dorothy Arzner; she and Bow would reunite two years later for the talkie “The Wild Party.”

For years, a few reels of “Get Your Man” survived in an incomplete print. But thanks to the Library of Congress and the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library, Bow buffs can see a version that reflects the spirit of the original release.

“The Library of Congress decided to put it back together,” said Randy Haberkamp, the academy’s managing director for programming, education and preservation. “We ended up having a full set of key book stills from the movie. Back in those days, they covered the films pretty extensively with still photography, so literally they would take stills of almost every scene and sometimes multiple shots from a scene.”

Using the surviving footage, the stills from the academy’s library and the shooting script as a guide, the Library of Congress pieced the film together.


Because “Get Your Man” features about 45 minutes of moving footage interspersed with still pictures, “you get a better sense of the story, what the action looked like, how it was paced and directed,” Haberkamp said. “It’s a fun movie. Clara Bow is somebody who is always fascinating, especially in her silent pictures because she is so full of life and just kind of leaps off the screen.”

Released in 1921, the drama “The Blazing Trail” was a typical B-movie that Universal churned out during the silent era. The Academy Film Archive preserved the film from a 35-millimeter nitrate print from a 1927 reissue released to celebrate Philbin’s 25th birthday. “The Blazing Trail,” Philbin’s first film, is one of the few films she made at Universal that survive.

“It’s a fun program picture,” Haberkamp said. In fact, the reissue begins and ends “with a glance back at her early beginnings, and then at the end shows you scenes from her upcoming movies.” The way that the reissue was used to capitalize on Philbin’s new status as a star is “very interesting,” he said.


‘Preservation Spotlight: “Get Your Man” and “The Blazing Trail”’

Where: Linwood Dunn Theater, 1313 Vine St., Hollywood

When: 7:30 p.m. Monday

Admission: $3-$5