The first Duck Soup Cinema presentation of 2018 at Overture Center is Victor Fleming's wild and winsome silent comedy, Mantrap (1926). Starring the iconic Clara Bow as manicurist Alverna at the height of the "flapper" era or Jazz Age (a year before her career-making "It Girl" role), the film faithfully translates the novel of the same name by Nobel Prize-winning writer Sinclair Lewis.
From the core of the title's play on words, a brisk but sinuous tale of restless affection surfaces. In Minneapolis, fish-out-of-water trader Joe Easter (Ernest Torrence) falls for the stylish, coquettish Alverna and promptly marries her. After escorting her to his backwoods Canadian cabin in the titular village, Alverna soon begins to find the remote locale to lack the excitement and invigorating air of the city. So, she lustfully ensnares divorce lawyer Ralph Prescott (Percy Marmont), Joe's younger vacationing friend, thus setting into motion an undeniably droll rivalry.
Mantrap is certainly not divorced from the antiquated gender politics of its time, but the director's eye for wily melodrama and sight gags still shines over 90 years later. The esteemed Jelani Eddington will provide live pipe organ accompaniment throughout, complementing the film's most rollicking qualities. And, as customary for Duck Soup Cinema, local vaudeville acts will properly warm up the Capitol Theater crowd prior to a 2 p.m. screening and the encore at 7. —Grant Phipps