Clara Bow back in theatres



A newly restored version of the silent movie Wings, first to win the Academy Award for best picture, will be shown at the Century Sparks theater on May 2. The movie stars Clara Bow, once a resident of Nevada who was married to the state’s lieutenant governor.

Wings, a 1927 film about World War One pilots, was an innovative mess. It included a crazy-quilt of techniques including widescreen portions, two types of color tinting and synchronized sound in some prints. Contrary to legend, Bow is not seen nude. There is a scene in which she is surprised by soldiers entering a room while she is dressing, but nothing vital is revealed. On the other hand, there is some male nudity seen—but only from the back.

In 1931, Bow married actor Rex Bell in Las Vegas. When their film careers faded and Bow experienced mental problems, they spent more time in Nevada on a ranch outside Searchlight, the future home of another Nevada lieutenant governor, Harry Reid. Bell ran for office a number of times—for Clark County commissioner, the U.S. House, lieutenant governor and governor. He was elected to two terms as lieutenant governor in the 1950s and was running for governor in 1962 when he died.

They were married until his death but effectively led separate lives in the later years of the marriage.