Male and Female
Male and Female is a 1919 American silent adventure/drama film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Gloria Swanson and Thomas Meighan. Its main themes are gender relations and social class. The film is based on the J. M. Barrie play The Admirable Crichton.
|Male and Female|
Still of Gloria Swanson in the film
|Directed by||Cecil B. DeMille|
|Produced by||Cecil B. DeMille|
Jesse L. Lasky
|Written by||Jeanie Macpherson|
|Based on||The Admirable Crichton|
by J. M. Barrie
|Music by||Sydney Jill Lehman (1997 version)|
|Edited by||Anne Bauchens|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Language||Silent (English intertitles)|
A previous version was filmed the year before in England as The Admirable Crichton.
The film centers on the relationship between Lady Mary Loam (Swanson), a British aristocrat, and her butler, Crichton (Meighan). Crichton fancies a romance with Mary, but she disdains him because of his lower social class. When the two and some others are shipwrecked on a deserted island, they are left to fend for themselves in a state of nature.
The aristocrats' abilities to survive are far worse than those of Crichton, and a role reversal ensues, with the butler becoming a king among the stranded group. Crichton and Mary are about to wed on the island when the group is rescued. Upon returning to Britain, Crichton chooses not to marry Mary; instead, he asks a maid, Tweeny (who was attracted to Crichton throughout the film), to marry him, and the two move to the United States.
The film contains two famous scenes, indicative of de Mille's predilections as a filmmaker.
- An early scene depicts Gloria Swanson bathing in an elaborate setting, attended by two maids, lavishing her with rosewater and bath salts, silk dressing gown, and luxurious towels.
- Toward the end of the film, a fantasy sequence about ancient Babylon shows Swanson posed as Gabriel von Max's famous painting The Lion's Bride, which involved her being photographed with an actual lion.
- Lila Lee as Tweeny, the scullery maid
- Theodore Roberts as Lord Loam
- Raymond Hatton as Honorable Ernest 'Ernie' Wolley
- Mildred Reardon as Lady Agatha 'Aggie' Lasenby
- Gloria Swanson as Lady Mary Lasenby
- Thomas Meighan as Crichton, the butler
- Robert Cain as Lord Brockelhurst
- Bebe Daniels as King's Favorite
- Julia Faye as Susan, 2nd Maid
- Rhy Darby as Lady Eileen Duncraigie
- Edmund Burns as Treherne
- Henry Woodward as McGuire, Lady Eileen's Chauffeur
- Sydney Deane as Thomas
- Wesley Barry as Buttons, the Boy
- Slats the Lion
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- 2002: AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions – Nominated
- Birchard, Robert S. (2004). Cecil B. DeMille's Hollywood. University Press of Kentucky. p. 144. ISBN 0-813-12324-0.
- Progressive Silent Film List: Male and Female at silentera.com
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-19.
- "Alpha Video - Male and Female". Retrieved 2014-01-30.
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