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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Clara Bow Road Not Taken


Imagining The "It" Girl as Scarlett O' Hara

So was she invited to test for Scarlett O' Hara? I find no mention elsewhere, and would have to assume it was point of pride for every living actress in latter half of the 30's to at least say they were under consideration. Scarlett was, after all, the most coveted female lead in all of movies, then or to come. Clara Bow was well retired from the industry after 1933. She really had no intention of coming back, but would have been reassured by thought they still wanted her. It made great and ongoing publicity to test a distaff half of the industry's work force for Gone With The Wind, and David Selznick, having supervised some of Bow's late Paramount work, may well have regarded her as a viable possibility. He had expressed belief  that she could come back in a right sort of vehicle, and it wasn't unlike Selznick to revive a personality others had written off. Might DOS have hypoed Bow the way he did Janet Gaynor with A Star Is Born and The Young In Heart? Bow and husband Rex Bell had two children by this time plus resource (his program western income) to manage a vacation at French Lick, Indiana, where lure was a world class resort hotel in business since 1845. As to Clara Bow headlining Gone With The Wind, it's not unimaginable, but could she have gotten through the ordeal? I for one wish she'd at least have done a test for it, so we'd have that to look at and speculate on.

7 Comments:

Blogger Tom said...

You have to think that, if only for old time's sake, Victor Fleming would have been happy to see a revived Bow playing Scarlet.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Jim Lane said...

Clara testing for Scarlett isn't at all out of the question, I suppose; there are extant tests for Jean Arthur and Tallulah Bankhead, both of whom were older than Clara. That Brooklyn accent would probably have been a deal-breaker though; I don't think the accent hurt her in talkies as much as legend has it (I suspect her time was about up no matter what), but for Scarlett it'd never do.

It's amusing to imagine Victor Fleming reporting to the set to find Clara there (he wouldn't have been in on casting her, of course); to think that Gable wanted Cukor fired because he was paying too much attention to the women!

2:57 PM  
Blogger KING OF JAZZ said...

No, she would have been far better as one hell of a Belle Watling.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Scott MacGillivray said...

I second that. Bow as Belle Watling, for sure.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Jim Lane said...

King: Inspired!

2:44 PM  
Blogger KING OF JAZZ said...

Thank you.

:D

3:05 PM  
Blogger tomservo56954 said...

Wasn't she a bit long in the tooth for the part?

1:32 PM  

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