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Male and Female (1919)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama | 23 November 1919 (USA)
Lady Mary Lasenby is a spoiled maiden who always gets her way until shipwrecked with her butler, then learns which qualities are really admirable in a person.


Cecil B. DeMille


Jeanie Macpherson, J.M. Barrie (by: "The Admirable Crichton")




Cast overview, first billed only:
Thomas Meighan ... William Crichton - The Butler
Theodore Roberts ... Lord Loam
Raymond Hatton ... Honorable Ernest Wolley
Robert Cain Robert Cain ... Lord Brockelhurst
Gloria Swanson ... Lady Mary Lasenby
Lila Lee ... Tweeny - the Scullery Maid
Bebe Daniels ... The King's Favorite
Julia Faye ... Susan - Maid #2
Rhy Darby Rhy Darby ... Lady Eileen Duncraigie
Mildred Reardon Mildred Reardon ... Lady Agatha Lasenby
Mayme Kelso ... Lady Brockelhurst
Edmund Burns ... Treherne
Henry Woodward Henry Woodward ... McGuire - Lady Eileen's Chauffeur
Sydney Deane Sydney Deane ... Thomas
Wesley Barry ... Buttons - the Boy


Lord Brockelhurst, his unwilling betrothed Lady Mary, his butler Crichton and scullery maid Tweeny are on Lord Loam's yacht which is wrecked leaving them all to cope on a desert island. Class distinctions fall apart for the time being. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Why Don't Wives Remain Their Husband's Sweethearts When countless pairs of ardent lovers fade into listless "married folk," what's the reason? Who's to blame? (Print Ad- Daily Colonist, ((Victoria, BC)) 27 June 1920) See more »


Adventure | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The leopard Thomas Meighan is carrying in the movie was a real leopard. It had killed a man in a nearby zoo and was to be euthanized, but director Cecil B. De Mille refused to have it killed. The leopard was drugged with chloroform before it was let near the actor, who then did the scene carrying the animal on his shoulder. See more »


Lady Mary Lasenby: Would you put a Jack Daw and a Bird of Paradise in the same cage? It's kind to kind, Eileen-and you and I can never change it!
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1997, Film Preservation Associates copyrighted a version produced for video by David Shepard using materials from the George Eastman collection, in cooperation with the Estate of Cecil B. DeMille. It has a music score composed and performed by Sydney Jill Lehman, runs 116 minutes, and was distributed on video by Kino International. See more »


Version of The Admirable Crichton (1918) See more »

User Reviews

Thomas Meighan's an Admirable Crichton
30 September 2007 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

Thomas Meighan (as the admirable Crichton) is head butler for an aristocratic British family; he is obviously quite taken with luscious Gloria Swanson (as Lady Mary Lasenby), but unable to cross class barriers. The household's scullery maid Lila Lee (as Tweeny) is in love with Crichton. The threesome, and some others, go out yachting; when cross currents hit, the ensemble is shipwrecked! Turns out, the servant class has far more advanced survival skills. Who knew?

Ms. Swanson is the film's main attraction; her bathing and showering scenes, near the beginning of the film, helped clean-up at the box office. Note that whenever there is nakedness afoot, DeMille has an object cover-up Swanson's figure, however. Though not as famed, Swanson's later wet spot, when she is nearly drowned in the bowel of the sideswiped yacht, is far superior. Swanson and Ms. Lee perform well, actually, with the material given. Loved the "upper crust" lady complaining about limp toast!

Mr. Meighan delivers the movie's finest performance; the other players have moments, but Meighan is outstanding in the pivotal role of Butler Crichton. From the moment he checks the mansion for dust, he is delightful; the actor makes the movie even more interesting when the suppressed desire for Swanson begins registering on his face. A couple of smaller roles are noteworthy: Wesley Barry is great as the peeping Buttons, indicating what Cecil B. DeMille's "Male and Female" is really all about (more or less). You should also keep an eye on Bebe Daniels during the "King of Babylon" imaginary sequence; she is terrific as Meighan's right-hand lady. Silent film veterans Guy Oliver and Clarence Burton inexplicably disappear, after the shipwreck. Theodore Roberts and Raymond Hatton are around much longer, thankfully.

The film is recommended, and DeMille obviously expert - but it's one of the more ludicrously-themed silent era classics preserved for modern scrutiny. Apparently, in adapting "The Admirable Crichton" for DeMilledom, the director substituted sex for satire. AND, he gets his titillating re-title "Male and Female" from no less than God Himself! quoting, "So God created Man in His own image, in the image of God created He him: Male and Female created He them." There is also a oddly placed bow to the good ol' U.S.A. With all its oddities, it's still a fun film.

******** Male and Female (11/23/19) Cecil B. DeMille ~ Thomas Meighan, Gloria Swanson, Lila Lee

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None | English

Release Date:

23 November 1919 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Male and Female See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


(1997 alternate)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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