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The Wild Party (1929 film)

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Director  Dorothy Arzner
Music director  John Leipold
Language  English
6.5/10 IMDb

Genre  Comedy, Drama
Country  United States
The Wild Party (1929 film) movie poster

Writer  Samuel Hopkins Adams, E. Lloyd Sheldon
Release date  April 6, 1929 (1929-04-06)
Screenplay  George Marion, Jr., E. Lloyd Sheldon, John V. A. Weaver
Cast  Clara Bow (Stella Ames), Fredric March (James 'Gil' Gilmore), Marceline Day (Faith Morgan), Shirley O'Hara (Helen Owens), Joyce Compton (Eva 'Evie' Tutt), Jack Oakie (Al)
Similar movies  The Man from Earth, Krippendorf's Tribe, Iceman, The Fox Family, The Naked Ape, Killed by Lightning
Tagline  The Life of the Party and how!

The Wild Party is a 1929 Pre-Code film directed by Dorothy Arzner, released by Paramount Pictures, and known as Clara Bow's first talkie.




The Wild Party 1929 Clara Bow Rarities UCLA Film Television

The film focuses on an all-female college where the students are more interested in having fun and partying than studying. Stella Ames (Bow) is the most popular student, with a loud mouth. When the young and attractive professor Gilmore 'Gil' (March) starts working there in anthropology, all the girls immediately feel attracted to him. Stella recognizes him as the man she once accidentally shared a bed with, thereby risking her reputation. The professor is unamused by the girls' bad behavior and does not seem to notice who Stella is.

The Wild Party 1929 Anybodys Woman 1930UCLA School of TFT

At the end of term, a traditional costume party is held. Stella and her friends show up in revealing costumes and are therefore thrown out by Faith Morgan (Day), the head of the student body. The girls decide to go to a bar, where they are soon bothered by drunk men. They try to leave, but the men refuse to let them go. A bar fight soon ensues. All the girls are able to get away and leave with the car, but Stella is left behind. Fearing the worst, she decides to play along with the men so they will not force themselves on her. She is eventually rescued by professor Gilmore, who beats up the men.

The Wild Party 1929 MUBI

While taking her home, she tries to show her gratitude, but he is not moved by her, pointing out her scandalous lifestyle and lack of ambition. Hurt, she starts crying, but Gil states that he still would kill for her and kisses her. Eva catches them and soon spreads the word, but Stella threatens to ruin her life if she continues to. Stella denies the whole story, but admits to her best friend Helen (O'Hara) that she loves him. However, the next morning he acts as if nothing has happened, even giving her a hard time for committing plagiarism. Upset, she returns to her old lifestyle of wild parties, which includes dancing with and kissing strangers. However, when information reaches her that Gil has been shot, she realizes that she is still in love with him.

Wild Party The 1929

A month later, Gil returns to college. Stella visits him, and he explains to her that he hates her for what she is and loves her for what she could be. They kiss, but are interrupted by Eva (Compton). Gil acts as if nobody else is there, but Eva notices Stella's presence. After she leaves, they enjoy a romantic evening until a fire drill interrupts them. While reporting to the dean, Helen loses a letter she has written to George, a man she is secretly seeing, despite the fact that it is prohibited for students to date. It turns out that Eva has found the letter and threatens to reveal both Helen and Stella's admirers. She later admits to their friend Babs that she has given the letter to Faith Morgan.

July 31 The Wild Party 1929 and Anybodys Woman 1930 UCLA

Stella later tries to protect Helen and takes the blame, claiming that it was she who wrote the letter. She prepares to leave college, but Gil follows her on the train and they are reunited. He tells her that he does not believe her claim that she wrote the letter and announces that he has left college too.


  • Clara Bow as Stella Ames
  • Fredric March as James 'Gil' Gilmore
  • Marceline Day as Faith Morgan
  • Shirley O'Hara as Helen Owens
  • Adrienne Dore as Babs
  • Joyce Compton as Eva Tutt
  • Jack Oakie as Al
  • Jack Luden as George
  • Phillips Holmes as Phil
  • Production

    Bow was unable to get used to the microphones. During her first line, the microphone reportedly exploded, which caused a technical problem at the studio. As Bow was very nervous about the new sound generation system, Arzner tried to comfort her by devising what is reputed to be the first fishpole microphone to allow flexibility of placement. Bow thereby had the freedom to move while filming.


    The film is known for being Clara Bow's talkie debut. A silent film version was released as well, for theaters which did not yet have sound equipment. The film had mixed reviews and Bow's Brooklyn accent was especially criticized. One critic described her voice as a 'smooth contralto, vigorous and natural', while another said that she had a 'harsh tonal quality that is not very easy on sensitive eardrums'. Magazine Variety stated that her voice was 'good enough' to survive the transition to sound. Film Daily also stated that there was 'nothing wrong' with her 'hard and metallic' voice.

    Nevertheless, The Wild Party did well at the box office and confirmed Dorothy Arzner's abilities as a director. With its success, her career reached its high point. Bow's less appreciative reviews have often been explained by the rushed production.


    The Wild Party (1929 film) Wikipedia
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