Though the plot practically grows mold before the viewer's eyes, and some of the production qualities are laughable, THE WILD PARTY remains fascinating to watch from first reel to last. One of the popular happy-go-lucky college-based films of the era, this has an added benefit in featuring
Bow in her talkie debut. She is, naturally, a wild party girl who's enrolled in college for the good times rather than to advance her education. Bow and her girlfriends decide to take a class taught by March, not for his stunning classroom abilities, but because he's cute! March is a no-nonsense
type and the course proves to be much more difficult than Bow and company had anticipated. To relieve this academic pressure, the coeds pull a few classroom pranks. Bow attends a ball but is kicked out for wearing a low-cut dress. She later goes to a roadhouse, where an inebriated Ben Hendricks
tries to have his way with her. March, who inexplicably is also at the roadhouse, puts a stop to this, then gives Bow a lift. Compton, a fellow classmate of Bow's, sees the campus flirt leaving March's car, and her nimble mind immediately assumes there's funny business involved. Gossip spreads
thick, so March chews out Bow in front of other students to prove they aren't an item. Bow angrily walks out of the classroom. She and roommate O'Hara go to a party (no one ever studies at this school), where O'Hara falls for Jack Luden. Hendricks, still angry with March for the earlier
altercation, finds the professor and shoots him. Bow tells the wounded March of her love for him, giving Compton more fuel for her gossip mill. A letter from O'Hara to Luden turns up, and its spicy contents create a scandal.
It's silly, but so what? Arzner's direction is good and Bow gives an energetic performance, her Brooklyn accent serving the "It" girl's well-known personality with absolute perfection. The advertising campaign played up on this with glee, claiming: "You've had an eyeful of IT...now get an earful!"
March, in only his second film, takes his part seriously, which adds to the picture's inherent campiness. Bow was terrified of making a talkie, but she handled herself well in the funfest. Reportedly, her voice was so loud it blew meters on the sound equipment when she spoke her first line. At
times her voice is muddled on the soundtrack, partly the fault of the new technology and partly due to her accent. In England, THE WILD PARTY was released as a silent film. Within a few years Bow would be gone from the screen forever, while March would become one of filmdom's most respected
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Though the plot practically grows mold before the viewer's eyes, and some of the production qualities are laughable, THE WILD PARTY remains fascinating to watch from first reel to last. One of the popular happy-go-lucky college-based films of the era, this… (more)