Hollywood's Lost Screen Goddess Clara Bow

9:00pm Sunday 30 December on BBC FOUR

Hollywood’s Lost Screen Goddess Clara Bow tells the story of one of the greatest stars of the silent era.

Clara Bow is almost forgotten today, but as a silent film star, her level of fame was unparalleled. Lauded as the first ever sex symbol, for a while she was box office gold. She was a trailblazer, whose natural acting style hadn’t been seen before.

Biographer David Stenn asserts: “Billy Wilder called it ‘flesh impact’ … and the only people he ever saw who had that were Clara Bow and Marilyn Monroe.”

But in just a few short years everything had changed. Clara Bow’s public fall from grace into virtual obscurity reflects a turbulent period for Hollywood as a whole. It came at a time when one of the most significant changes in cinematic history took place, the switch from the hugely popular silent films to the talkies.

This documentary tells the life story of an actress born on the wrong side of the tracks who, for a while, became Hollywood royalty. The film is a rediscovery of a significant talent destroyed by hypocrisy and fame.

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