UCLA Festival of Preservation
dir. Victor Fleming, US, 1926, 35mm, b/w, silent, 75 min.
Live musical accompaniment by Andrew Marsh and Kate Porter
Ralph Prescott (Percy Marmont), a New York
divorce lawyer and his buddy, E. Wesson Woodbury (Eugene Pallette), decide to
get away from it all on a camping trip near Mantrap, Canada. However, the city
slickers are a bit out of their depth in the North woods. After the two get into a tussle, Joe Easter,
(Ernest Torrence) the local trading post owner, takes Prescott to Mantrap,
where Prescott meets Joe’s flirtatious new wife, Alverna (Clara Bow). The
sparks begin to fly.
Paramount Pictures paid $ 50,000 for
Sinclair Lewis’ long and justifiably forgotten novel, Mantrap,
but happily, the female screenwriters turned Lewis’ misogynistic tirade into a
funny comedy romp that is light as a feather. The credit goes to Clara Bow who
represents an erotic whirlwind in an otherwise womanless Western wilderness; an
outrageous, good-time girl who leads at least two men by the nose, but
nevertheless eventually honors her commitment— at least until the next interesting prospect comes along. Bow, of course,
perfectly embodied the Jazz Age, the first era in American history to celebrate
women’s sexuality as something other than a function of man’s desire.
35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive
Preservation funding provided by David Stenn
Preserved in cooperation with Paramount Pictures from a 35mm acetate fine grain master positive. Laboratory services by YCM Laboratories.