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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 <email@example.com>
For someone who has seen Bing Crosby and Carole Lombard in We're Not Dressing you will get a nice musical and comedy treat as Bing sings some nice songs and comedy is nicely handled by Burns&Allen and Leon Errol. But while the broad comedy aspects of The Admirable Crichton are handled well there, the broad range of James M. Barrie's story is done in the Cecil B. DeMille silent film Male And Female. Starring of course DeMille's latest discovery Gloria Swanson.
Elliott Dexter a DeMille silent regular was unavailable so Thomas Meighan takes the title role as the butler on Theodore Roberts estate. He has two daughters and a silly sot of a nephew in Raymond Hatton. The daughters are Gloria Swanson and Lila Lee.
We have class distinctions in America, but they're not as rigid as they are in the United Kingdom. It's those aspects that are dealt with in Male And Female not the Americanized We're Not Dressing. Meighan has it bad for Swanson, but the rigid class structure makes that union impossible.
But when they're shipwrecked on a tropical island while on a cruise the social order is reversed. Theodore Roberts by dint of his title tries to assert his authority. But Meighan as the man with the most knowledge on how to survive upsets that in a hurry. Unlike the Crosby/Lombard film, these folks are here for a few years and thinking even with the social order reversed, it's not like Robinson Crusoe with no one to converse with for years.
Barrie both satirizes and deals with the subject class seriously. As for DeMille he gets to do one of his spectacle type sequences in a flashback when the cast imagines they're in ancient Babylon with Meighan as king. In that flashback is a young Bebe Daniels who was getting started and she would shortly being starring in DeMille silent films. DeMille in his autobiography pays compliments to a new member of his team Mitchell Leisen who did the costumes. He would be a DeMille regular until he went out on his own as a director.
I liked the film and I'll let you others decide whether there is more Barrie or more DeMille in this film.
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