Call Her Savage

Call Her Savage is a 1932 pre-Code drama film directed by John Francis Dillon and starring Clara Bow.[1] The film was Bow's second-to-last film role. It is also one of the first portrayals of homosexuals on screen, including a scene in a gay bar.[2][3]

Call Her Savage
Directed byJohn Francis Dillon
Produced bySam E. Rork
Written byTiffany Thayer (novel)
Edwin J. Burke
StarringClara Bow
Gilbert Roland
Music byPeter Brunelli
Arthur Lange
CinematographyLee Garmes
Edited byHarold D. Schuster
Distributed byFox Film Corporation
Release date
  • November 24, 1932 (1932-11-24)
Running time
82–92 minutes
CountryUnited States


A wild young woman, Nasa Springer (Clara Bow), born and raised in Texas by well-to-do parents, rebels against her father. She is sent to school in Chicago, where her disruptive behavior marks her as a troublemaker. She marries a rich playboy, who then declares the marriage a ploy and abandons her. She is renounced by her father, who tells her he never wishes to see her again. She discovers she is pregnant and bears a child. Reduced to poverty, she moves into a boardinghouse with her infant, and struggles to pay for the baby's basic needs. Unaware that her grandfather in Texas has died and left her a $100,000 fortune, a desperate Nasa dresses up as a prostitute and goes out in the neighborhood hoping to earn some quick cash to purchase medicine for her child. While she is out, a drunken lout at the boardinghouse drops a match and accidentally sets the building on fire. Nasa's infant is killed in the blaze.

Upon learning that her mother is dying, she hurries home to Texas. There she learns that she is a "half-breed", half white and half Indian. The assertion is made that this explains why she had always been "untameable and wild." This knowledge of her lineage would supposedly allow her the possibility for happiness in the arms of a handsome young Indian named Moonglow (Gilbert Roland), a longtime friend who has secretly loved her.



The Film Daily praised Bow's performance, writing, "Looking like a million dollars, acting better than she ever did, and playing a role that requires her to pretty near run the gamut of feminine moods and modes, Clara Bow makes a whirlwind comeback."[5]

The film attracted an audience of over 900,000 when it was first showcased in 42 key first-run cities.[6]

Preservation status

The film was restored in 2012 by the Museum of Modern Art and premiered at the third annual Turner Classic Movies Film Festival in Hollywood.[7]


  1. Mordaunt Hall (1932-11-25). "Clara Bow as a Termagant in a Film of a Novel by Tiffany Thayer -- The Night Mayor". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
  2. Jeffrey Friedman; Rob Epstein; Sharon Wood (17 August 2012). The Art of Nonfiction Movie Making. ABC-CLIO. pp. 184–. ISBN 978-0-313-08453-9.
  3. "Screened Out".
  4. Alan Gevinson, ed. (1997). American Film Institute Catalog. University of California Press.
  5. "Clara Bow in 'Call Her Savage'" (PDF). The Film Daily. November 26, 1932.
  6. "Bow Pulls 'Em In" (PDF). The Film Daily. November 26, 1932.
  7. TCM
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