Though officially closeted, as a lesbian filmmaker in the classical Hollywood era Dorothy Arzner was a unique figure. Following her time as an editor, she eventually worked her way up to the director’s chair with 1927’s Fashions for Women, and would go on to earn a reputation as a star-maker, kick-starting the careers of Lucille Ball (Dance, Girl, Dance) and Rosalind Russell (Craig’s Wife), among others. As Paramount’s first sound movie, The Wild Party marked a turning point for both Arzner and the industry. Clara Bow, the original “It” girl, stars as a student at a women’s college who is “The life of the party and HOW!” Though the plot is driven by the vicissitudes of her blossoming romance with a young anthropology professor, modern audiences are likely to be just as intrigued by the film’s account of female friendship, and the sapphic implication of the homosocial milieu.

  • Dorothy Arzner
  • 1929
  • USA
  • 35mm
  • 77 minutes