Mantrap (1926) Poster


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A Fun, Fast Film
Maleejandra15 December 2005
Mantrap is a film about a country man who comes to the city and finds a beautiful, lively girl who wants a change in her life. She marries him on impulse and the two go to live in a tiny town called Mantrap. She soon becomes tired of rural living and sets her sights on a man from the city on vacation. When he proceeds to return home, the girl decides to follow him at any cost.

Clara Bow is great as the chronically flirtatious girl whose desires change from minute to minute. She is beautiful because of her exuberant personality on the screen and her expressive eyes. Her character is not incredibly sympathetic, but Bow manages to make us like her anyway.

One of the best parts of this film are the title cards. They are very witty and a joy to read.

The film was very well edited in order that the film flow quickly and also for a bit of artistry. The film is short so it is not a chore to watch. There is no scene in the film that should have been taken out.
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Clara at her best
stwhite30 August 2003
I've had the privilege of seeing a dozen or so of Miss Bow's movies and I would rate this one among the best, after IT. I'm surprised that the current rating is only a 6.6. Clara never looked better than in MANTRAP and was approaching the peak in her career. The soon to be "It" girl, is so vibrant, uninhibited, and full of life as Alverna, the young manicurist from Minneapolis who impulsively marries an older he-man, Joe Easter, from the back country and becomes restless once they return to Mantrap. Poor Ralph Prescott, a divorce lawyer from New York who is at his breaking point from all his flirtatious female clients, decides to take a vacation to get away from everything at the insistence of his friend. Not only does he get wrestled to the ground by his heavy-set friend, played by Eugene Pallate, once they get on each other's nerves, but he gets accepts an invitation to stay at Joe's cabin to get away from living in a tent. Little does he know, that the seductive Alverna awaits him ready to flirt with him every time Joe's back is turned. I think this is a very entertaining romantic comedy from the mid 1920s. Both Ernest Torrence and Percy Marmont, as well as any red-blooded male watching the movie, fall prey to Clara's mischievous grin and beautiful, expressive eyes. I'm so glad that Paramount didn't let this one deteriorate in its vaults. 8/10
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Radiant, sexy Clara Bow.
David-2404 August 1999
What a delightful film - at its best when its comedy, a little weaker in the dramatic bits. Clara Bow is amazing - funny, sexy, completely liberated - she is a free spirit, having sex with whoever she wants to. Her two choices are a little dull though - country bumpkin Ernst Torrence or city lawyer Percy Marmont - both a little old for her, but hell, Hollywood has always put beautiful young women with stodgy older men (studio executive fantasy perhaps?).

It's a well directed film - Victor Fleming went on to direct "Gone with the Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz", and photographed mostly on location by James Wong Howe - so it looks great. But it's Clara that holds it all together - and what an ending! Incidentally she isn't the mantrap - it's the name of the town in Canada where most of the action takes place.
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"Ankles ain't half of what they're showing"
Steffi_P6 December 2011
Of all those long-gone silent movie stars, Clara Bow is one of the few whose name is widely remembered. She is seen as epitomising the Jazz-age floozy; fun-loving and promiscuous in that brief period when these things weren't frowned upon in the movies. Actually Bow played a lot of relatively tame leading lady roles as well – it was her offscreen antics that garnered her reputation. But once in a while she played a role that lived up to the stereotype, as in the bluntly-titled Mantrap.

Mantrap shows Clara at her most lively, playing her effortless flirtatiousness to the hilt. As this is also a comedy she gets to exaggerate a little, proving to be very good at this – humorous, but not overly theatrical. Playing opposite her is the Ernest Torrence, who because of his size and looks was generally cast as villains. He does well against type here though, showing a kind of awkward sensitivity towards Bow. Also to be seen here is Eugene Palette, his tubby sidekick persona just beginning to emerge (although it wouldn't really solidify until the coming of sound added his voice to the mix).

The director was Victor Fleming, one of many action-loving young men working in Hollywood at the time. For Fleming, the image really has to keep moving, and he makes the action snappy with lots of tracking shots and pans round the room. Often this attention-grabbing style is very much functional. For example, he gives Percy Marmont ("Ralph") a very memorable introduction with his face suddenly revealed. This is necessary because he then disappears from the narrative for a while, only to re-emerge as a main character. He saves an absolutely brilliant entrance for Bow herself, having her appear from behind a curtain in the background and, as if incidentally, has her saunter forward until she is in close-up.

Despite what the title implies, Mantrap is a rather playful affair that shows the men in Clara's life as becoming exasperated rather than ensnared by her. It's remarkably even-handed though, and she gets to assert her independence in style. If you want to see the real vision of a 1920s femme fatale, you have to look at the dubiously moral pictures of Cecil B. DeMille. But coming at it from this different angle, Mantrap is more in the way of good-natured fun.
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funny, beautiful, wonderful clara bow
amantsdupontneuf1 March 2002
this is one of clara bow's best movies. she plays a girl from the big city of minneapolis who marries a man from a small canadian town. they move back to canada in a town called "mantrap," where clara proceeds to flirt with just about every man she meets. the story is rather good for a silent film, but it is clara's personality and stunning beauty that are the main assets in this film. if you are a fan of clara bow, this is definitely a film to check out ( if ya can find it.)
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Clara in Top Form!
Dolly_Lo7 September 2007
I'd been wanting to see Mantrap for years and finally got the chance to see it recently. What a rare treat -- being able to see Clara Bow in one of her early hits, aided by A-list talent such as director Victor Fleming and cinematographer James Wong Howe, with a snappy script based on original material by Sinclair Lewis. If you're a fan of Miss Bow, it's worth it to seek out this title -- she really shines here! You will not be disappointed.

From the moment she enters the scene as Alverna, a bubbly doll of a manicurist with a severe flirting problem, she steals every scene she's in. Alverna falls for Joe, a simple backwoods "he-man" who quickly makes her his bride and snatches her away to his rustic cabin up north. Take Alverna's boredom and flirting addiction, add in Ralph, a New York divorce lawyer running away from city women ... and you can see where the story is headed. But it's oh so much fun to watch it unfold.

Clara's manic energy makes the movie (watch the scene in which she feeds Joe and Ralph chocolates and bops around the room like a sexy little Muppet), but the dialogue on the title cards keep the comedic energy up as well with clever quips. When Joe threatens to send Alvy away to his aunt in Minneapolis, she retorts: "Minneapple - sauce!" A great slice of mid-1920s vernacular, and this movie's full of them.

Unfortunately, B.P. Schulberg at Paramount threw Clara into practically any picture that came along, which means she racked up dozens of roles in mediocre, forgettable titles in her day. (The reason is clear: Clara had such -- well, "it" -- that she would have been watchable in a film about drying paint. So why seek out top material when your star makes you money even when the material is crap?) Mantrap is the kind of vehicle Clara should have always been given. An adorable little film, a wonderful showcase for Clara, and a silent I highly recommend.
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Be Captivated By Clara!!!
kidboots18 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
In April of 1925 Paramount ranked Clara Bow 38th in it's Galaxy of Stars - after "Mantrap" she was beyond numerical ranking. "Mantrap" was Clara's first starring role and critics raved - they thought Clara walked off with the picture and it would do for her career what "Flaming Youth" had done for Colleen Moore's. It certainly did!!! Even though Victor Fleming is now a legendary director with credits like The Wizard of Oz" and "Gone With the Wind", in 1926 he had directed 18 films, none particularly distinguished. So when "Mantrap" came along he grabbed the opportunity of injecting some humor into Sinclair Lewis's solemn tale of passion in the backwoods.

Ralph Prescott is an over worked divorce lawyer who goes camping with his friend Woodbury (Eugene Palette) up in the backwoods of Mantrap. Meanwhile Joe (Ernest Torrence), one of the town's confirmed bachelors, has returned from the big city with a wife - she is Alverna, a smart and sassy manicurist who sweeps Joe off his feet. The two camping buddies are not having a good time - wet weather and Ralph's "wimpy" ways cause a big fight. Joe breaks it up and invites Ralph back to his cabin to meet his very friendly wife. She considers him a "flat tire" and wants to throw a mad party - among those straight laced villagers!!! She's optimistic!!! It is not too long before she is using all her wiles on Ralph and Ralph, who once claimed "when women give men the best years of their lives, men get the worst of it!!" is falling hook, line and sinker. To Ralph, Alverna appears like a good little girl in gingham but in reality she is a sophisticated flapper and an unconscionable flirt who sees Ralph as a ticket back to the big city.

A big part of the film is devoted to Ralph and Alvey's trek through the wild country - he begins to realise she has grit but her incessant flirting - with powderpuff at the ready, she is more than willing to flirt with an aviator to get a free ride back to civilization even if it means leaving Ralph at the edge of the river!!! - it leaves him exasperated!!! The ending shows Alvey returning to Mantrap, realising that her place is with Joe and eliciting his promise to "help her when she slips" - into her flirting ways that is!!

Ernest Torrence gives his usual sterling performance and Percy Marmont is pretty wooden as Ralph but you will be captivated by Clara, who is just dazzling. Yes, Alvey isn't a particularly "nice" girl but as played by Clara, she makes you realize that deep down she is a "good egg" and will do the right thing at the movie's end. This movie also marked the start of a hot and heavy affair between Clara and director Victor Fleming. He felt her talent was limitless and it was the first time Clara had actually been made to feel that she had value as a person.

I gave it 9 out of 10 only because the print was pretty dismal.

Highly, Highly Recommended.
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Bow is Clearly The Highlight
Michael_Elliott26 February 2013
Mantrap (1926)

*** (out of 4)

Romantic comedy about city girl Alverna (Clara Bow) who agrees to marry the woodsman Joe Easter (Ernest Torrence) just because he's different. She moves with him to the small town of Mantrap where she eventually meets a lawyer (Percy Marmont) on vacation and soon the two decide to run off. MANTRAP isn't a masterpiece in regards to its storytelling but there's no question that the entire cast is extremely good and help keep this thing entertaining. I think the weakest part of the story is the actual screenplay, which just isn't all that believable and especially the stuff dealing with the beautiful Alverna falling for someone like Joe. It's made quite clear throughout the picture that she's a major flirt so you really do have to wonder why she would settle on Joe. Still, this here really doesn't kill the film as the three leads are simply so good that you can overlook this flaw. Director Victor Fleming does an extremely good job with the lighter touches of humor and especially an entire sequence in the woods when the three characters come together again. This here happens towards the end of the picture but it's one of the best moments in the film. Torrence is extremely likable in his part of the rough looking man who lives in the woods. I thought he really brought a lot of joy to the character and you couldn't help but love him. Marmont is a bit stiff but this is a good way to play the character since he's the complete opposite of Joe. Eugene Palette is also extremely good in his few scenes. There's no question that the real star is Bow. She's so bubbly and energetic that she pops right off the screen and you can't help but find joy in her. There's also no question that she brings that sexy nature to the role and she also shows some pretty good comic timing and especially when she's constantly fixing herself up to try and get something off of whatever man is around here. MANTRAP isn't a complete success but fans of Bow or those just wanting to see what her sex appeal was all about will get plenty of it here.
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an ideal vehicle for the quintessential Flapper
mjneu594 December 2010
Clara Bow's favorite among her own films is, when seen today, an agreeable if inconsequential silent comedy showing the 'It' Girl in familiar form, impulsively marrying an honest but unexciting mountain man (Ernest Torrance) and soon becoming bored with the great outdoors. Her inability to resist any sort of flirtation leads to a dalliance with prim misogynist Percy Marmont, in the hope that he might return her to civilization. But despite a promising set-up the level of humor is almost too modest, content to provide the occasional lighthearted chuckle instead of the more satisfying belly laugh. Bow's natural vitality and charm carry the film, and the impressive location photography was provided by a fledgling James Wong Howe.
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Clara Bow stands out in film history
wvisser-leusden12 February 2010
In the era of silent movies, a actor's face had to be extremely expressive and flexible to communicate the film's story to the audience. And in this respect no one ever surpassed Clara Bow. Her abilities allowed her to get away positively, even when she acted a not-so-positive character.

I estimate that only Clara's appearance saves 'Mantrap' from being covered under a thick layer of dust. The film itself is enjoyable, but does not exceed the hundreds of others produced at the time to keep the many movie-houses going.

In the 1920's, film developed fast. With no television around, every area of a city had its own movie-house, where films like 'Mantrap' attracted local crowds on their free Saturday night. Also in this respect 'Mantrap' reminds us of those days long ago.
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Why I'm not giving it ten!
JohnHowardReid13 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I have just one problem with "Mantrap". The beautiful print that has survived is a KodaScope cutdown, missing about ten minutes. I'll admit that the movie certainly runs fast and I imagine that all Clara Bow's scenes have been left in and that the shears have been taken to Percy Marmont and maybe Eugene Palette (who disappears about halfway through) and Tom Kennedy as well. Also, the original print was probably tinted. Certainly the lobby cards are tinted, although this was a pretty common practice, even back in 1926. What we have now of course, on an otherwise excellent Grapevine DVD, is a black-and-white copy. It's still a very good print, and Clara looks absolutely radiant -- particularly in all her close-ups. These, of course, were directed by her lover who actually sat so close to her, that he held her hands as he instructed her how to mime her lines. Yes, the lines were actually mimed or whispered so that any lip- readers in the audience could follow the action. I suspect, director Victor Fleming also took a hand in the photography as well, even though it is actually credited solely to Wong Howe. Anyway, even in its cutdown version, this is a movie that belongs on the shelf of every fan, young or old!
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Kind of cute...but inconsequential.
MartinHafer2 August 2012
I noticed that some folks (as well as the accompanying DVD notes) describe this as Clara Bow's best film. Well, it was cute and worth seeing but I still don't think it comes close to the quality and entertainment value of "Wings"--a film she made the following year.

The title clearly has a double meaning. First, it's set in the town of Mantrap in rural Canada. Second, Clara is clearly a mantrap--a woman who is so flirtatious that she can't seem to help attracting men.

The film begins with a man leaving Mantrap--he wants to visit the big city and perhaps meet a woman. He meets one--Clara--and soon they get married and move back to his tiny village. At the same time, a burnt out divorce lawyer leaves the big city to get away from it all. When he meets up with Clara's husband, they soon become friends. Unfortunately, Clara just can't help herself and she soon starts in on him--and it's obvious she wants him. What's to happen next? See this cute little film to see for yourself.

I noticed that another reviewer felt that the plot was decent but the film really was improved by Bow's performance as a lovable flirt. I would agree--it did make the film more entertaining. But, at its heart, it's still just a slightly above average film but a good feature role by this lovely actress.
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Survival of the Flirtiest
wes-connors23 July 2010
New York divorce lawyer Percy Marmont (as Ralph Prescott) is tired of leggy blondes flashing their wares through his office; he wants to get away from women. Meanwhile, in the small village of "Mantrap", woodsman Ernest Torrence (as Joe Easter) frets about the lack of female flesh in the Canadian mountains; he hardly ever gets to see a woman's ankle. Told he can see more leg in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mr. Torrence visits the city. In a barber shop, he meets flirty manicurist Clara Bow (as Alverna). Ms. Bow is turned on by the older man's backwoods nature, and Torrence is turned on by Bow.

Bow and Torrence marry, and settle in isolated "Mantrap". This is also where Mr. Marmont goes, to get away from fast city women. During his vacation, Marmont becomes Torrence's hunting and fishing buddy. By now, Bow has become bored with Torrence and his country ways. Bow sees Marmont as her ticket back to Minneapolis, and decides to seduce him. Considering his friendship with Torrence, Marmont tries to resist, but finds himself falling in love… The story ends with the running time. Bow is non-stop flirtatious for lover director Victor Fleming and location cameraman James Howe.

****** Mantrap (7/24/26) Victor Fleming ~ Clara Bow, Ernest Torrence, Percy Marmont, Eugene Palette
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