Saturday, 21 May 2011

De Mille's Male and Female 1919

Thanks awfully for the snap, GloriabetogoodnessBebedaniels-Swanson. I wish I could be a Thomas Meighan to you. But unfortunately my hair is untidy. My shoes always dirty. My face is a Z 15 model and above all - I am not Six Foot Two. Letter to Carol Brown 2nd June 1926

Malc's joke about gloria-be-to goodness, includes the names of the film stars Gloria Swanson and Bebe Daniels who along with Thomas Meighan starred in Cecil B. De Mille's film Male and Female 1919. Male and Female is famous for the scene pictured above when Gloria Swanson had to act with a lion. This amused me as there are countless references to lions in Malc's works which relate to Leo his star sign.

Male and Female is a 1919 silent film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Its main themes are gender relations and social class. It is based on the J. M. Barrie play "The Admirable Crichton".

The film centers on the relationship between Lady Mary Loam (played by Gloria Swanson), a British aristocrat, and her butler, Crichton. 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 desert 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 had fancied 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 rose-water and bath salts, silk dressing gown and luxurious towels. Toward the end of the film, a fantasy sequence about ancient Rome shows Swanson posed as Gabriel von Max's famous painting, "The Lion's Bride", which involved her being photographed with an actual lion.
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You can watch the whole movie below:

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