GenreAdventure, Drama ProducerCecil B. DeMille CountryUnited States
English intertitles Release dateNovember 23, 1919 (1919-11-23) Based onThe Admirable Crichton
by J. M. Barrie WriterJeanie Macpherson, J.M. Barrie (by: "The Admirable Crichton") CastThomas Meighan (William Crichton - The butler), Theodore Roberts (Lord Loam), Raymond Hatton (Honorable Ernest 'Ernie' Wolley), Robert Cain (Lord Brockelhurst), Gloria Swanson (Lady Mary Lasenby), Lila Lee (Tweeny - the scullery maid) Similar moviesRelated Cecil B DeMille movies
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.
A previous version was filmed the year before in England as The Admirable Crichton.
Male and female 1919
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
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
2002: AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions – Nominated
Male and Female was released on Region 0 DVD-R by Alpha Video on January 28, 2014.