Behind Margot Robbie’s character in ‘Babylon’ there is a horrible story: the actress who lived on the street and was subjected to ‘electroshock’

Damien Chazelle directs this epic film about the end of silent movies in Hollywood and its chaotic world.

Margot Robbie came to Babylon after Emma Stone had to leave the project. The role of her was very directed to tell the story of Clara Bowbut when Robbie embarked on the leading role, she ended up being a mixture of all those silent film actresses who swept the billboards in the 30s and, above all, who became the focus of attention at parties.

Bow’s story was diluted a bit, but Robbie still maintained the influence of this key interpreter for the Hollywood industry. She is considered one of the first sex idols in cinema and she is the one who coined the term ‘it girl’ which we have continued to use to this day. His story, of course, deserves its own movie.

She took care of her mother alone and did not have a fixed home

Clara Bow was born into complete poverty in 1905 – according to most sources – in New York. Her father was an absent and authoritative figure, while his mother suffered a serious injury when she fell from a second story that left her with epilepsy. She was her third daughter, but her two older sisters had died, leaving her alone in the care of her mother, who often treated her badly.

His childhood was by no means easy. The family had no fixed place to live and was practically wandering. And not just because of his parents, the environment in general was hostile. When she was a child, a boy who lived in the same building as hers was burned to death in her arms. This event haunted her for life. Bow, who had always wanted to dress like a boy and didn’t get along with other girls her age, didn’t fit in at school and couldn’t find comfort in her home.

His refuge was the cinema and the beautiful stories he saw on the big screen. So, despite her mother’s wishes and encouragement from her father, she began to walk her own path in the movies.

Paramount Pictures

On the left, Margot Robbie in ‘Babylon’. On the right, Clara Bow in ‘Rough House Rosie’

The rise and fall of a star

Bow began to chain jobs very early and, as soon as he could, he left New York to start a new life in California. She signed up with a good studio, had her hits and became the first ‘It’ girl. Everyone loved her and everyone adored her -public and executives because the reality is that among the actors she had more than one enemy-, but, as she tells Babylonhis life was far from being a dream.

There are some events in Chazelle’s tape that might seem fictional, yet are based on real events. For example, the dispute between Nellie LaRoy and Constance Moore (Samara Weaving). In real life, it happens just as Chazelle tells it. Bow had the nerve to have a sinusitis operation solely to delay production and thus annoy his partner, who wanted to steal his close-ups. Something had to show that she had grown up in Brooklyn.

More things that actually happened. Bow also had a gambling problem, something that is represented by gangster Jim McKay – the role of Tobey Maguire – and, of course, his drug addiction cut short his career. In the early 1930s, her situation became untenable and she was admitted to a sanatorium, where she underwent electroshock treatment. She lost her papers and the studio she worked for, Paramount, went into receivership. In 1932 she married actor Rex Bell and retired to a ranch in Nevada.

In 1937 the couple opened a cafeteria in the Hollywood Plaza Hotel, The ‘It’ Cafe, and stopped appearing on camera.

Behind Margot Robbie’s character in ‘Babylon’ there is a horrible story: the actress who lived on the street and was subjected to ‘electroshock’