7.9/10
1,436
15 user 8 critic

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.

Director:

Writers:

, (by: "The Admirable Crichton")
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Robert and Beth Gordon are married but share little. He runs into Sally at a cabaret and the Gordons are soon divorced. Just as he gets bored with Sally's superficiality, Beth strives to ... See full summary »

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Thomas Meighan, Gloria Swanson, Bebe Daniels
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An Austrian officer sets out to seduce a neglected young wife.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Sam De Grasse, Francelia Billington, Erich von Stroheim
Stella Maris (1918)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Stella Maris is a beautiful, crippled girl, who is cared for by a rich family. They shield her from the harsh realities of the world, so that she has no idea of the cruel things that some ... See full summary »

Director: Marshall Neilan
Stars: Mary Pickford, Ida Waterman, Herbert Standing
The Cheat (1915)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A venal, spoiled stockbroker's wife impulsively embezzles $10,000 from the charity she chairs and desperately turns to a Burmese ivory trader to replace the stolen money.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Fannie Ward, Sessue Hayakawa, Jack Dean
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Susie, a plain young country girl, secretly loves a neighbor boy, William. She believes in him and sacrifices much of her own happiness to promote his own ambitions, all without his ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Wilbur Higby
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A stranger comes to work at widow Halla's farm. Halla and the stranger fall in love, but when he is revealed as Eyvind, an escaped thief forced into crime by his family's starvation, they ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Sjöström
Stars: Victor Sjöström, Edith Erastoff, John Ekman
The Doll (1919)
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Because the Baron of Chanterelle wants to preserve his family line, he forces his timid nephew Lancelot to choose one of the village maidens to wed. Lancelot flees to a monastery to escape ... See full summary »

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Ossi Oswalda, Hermann Thimig, Victor Janson
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A teenaged tomboy, tired of being bossed around by her strict guardian, impersonates a man so she can have more fun, but discovers that being the opposite sex isn't as easy as she had hoped.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Ossi Oswalda, Curt Goetz, Ferry Sikla
J'accuse! (1919)
Drama | Horror | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The story of two men, one married, the other the lover of the other's wife, who meet in the trenches of the First World War, and how their tale becomes a microcosm for the horrors of war.

Director: Abel Gance
Stars: Romuald Joubé, Maxime Desjardins, Séverin-Mars
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Wealthy Jervis Pendleton acts as benefactor for orphan Judy Abbott, anonymously sponsoring her in her boarding school. But as she grows up, he finds himself falling in love with her, and ... See full summary »

Director: Marshall Neilan
Stars: Mary Pickford, Milla Davenport, Percy Haswell
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A religious woman seeks to save her people from destruction by seducing and murdering the enemy leader, but her plans get complicated once she falls for him.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Blanche Sweet, Henry B. Walthall, Mae Marsh
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Leila Porter comes to dislike her husband James, a glue king who is always eating onions and looking sloppy. But after she divorces him and marries two-timing playboy Schuyler Van Sutphen the now-reformed James looks pretty good.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Elliott Dexter, Gloria Swanson, Lew Cody
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Robert Cain ...
...
...
...
The King's Favorite
...
Susan - Maid #2
Rhy Darby ...
Lady Eileen Duncraigie
Mildred Reardon ...
Mayme Kelso ...
...
Henry Woodward ...
McGuire - Lady Eileen's Chauffeur
Sydney Deane ...
Thomas
Wesley Barry ...
Buttons - the Boy
Edit

Storyline

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

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 November 1919 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Macho e Fêmea  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1997 alternate)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

At the premiere of this film, Gloria Swanson once said she overheard somebody ask of the lions "I wonder which one is stuffed." According to Swanson in her 1980 autobiography, the lions were all real, and were very dangerous. See more »

Connections

Featured in Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"Babylon has fallen, and Bill Crichton must play the game"
6 March 2008 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

The silent films of Cecil B DeMille, scripted by his long-time collaborator (and mistress) Jeanie MacPherson were often bizarre, overwrought and sometimes just plain silly. Once in a while however they hit the nail right on the head. Male and Female, heavily adapted from JM Barrie's play The Admirable Crichton, is a powerful drama with some strong performances, DeMille's direction at its most lyrical, and MacPherson's storyline only occasionally veering off the rails.

The majority of DeMille films from this part of his career begin with a lengthy title card with some kind of moral or motto. However, Male and Female opens with images – the crashing sea, a sunset – before getting onto the intertitles. The typical DeMille silent would then follow this up by introducing us to each of the main characters with a title followed by a shot of them. Male and Female is no exception, but it works these introductions into the film's world and draws the audience in by making them point-of-view shots of a young servant peeping through the keyholes into his masters' and mistresses' bedrooms.

The acting style that DeMille had encouraged and developed in his silent pictures since the mid-1910s was largely naturalistic, but with the occasional broad theatrical gesture to highlight a dramatic moment. It was a style that reduced the need for intertitles, without resorting to ridiculous pantomiming. The two leads, Gloria Swanson and Thomas Meighan are both perfectly suited to this style. Meighan was probably the finest male actor DeMille had worked with since Sessue Hayakawa (in 1915's The Cheat), and his performance here is mesmerising. Swanson is also great as usual, although I have to say that although it was her run of pictures with DeMille that made her name, she didn't do her best work with him. Her talent was put to far better use in later features such as Queen Kelly and Sadie Thompson.

Aside from the performances, it's the dramatic story and its presentation that makes Male and Female so memorable. Only the basic plot of Barrie's play remains, and this is a typical DeMille/MacPherson story of the reversal of fortune and forbidden love – probably the strongest of this kind that they did before the slant in DeMille's films became increasingly moralist (and, of course, religious). Although DeMille loved these tales of class and inequality (he was at that point a socialist as well as a Christian), it is the impossible love between the two leads that is at the heart of this story. The real tragedy of Male and Female has nothing to do with the selfish pomposity of the aristocrats – it is the fact that the love between the rich woman and the poor man can only exist in this fantasy world of the remote island. This is set up from the beginning with the subplot of Swanson's friend who marries her chauffeur and becomes a social outcast. The final scenes in which the various love triangles are resolved are incredibly moving.

The only significant wrong note in Male and Female is a brief and rather pointless flashback to ancient Babylon. These historical inserts had been en vogue since Griffith's Intolerance (a more influential film than some would have us believe), but this one is rather lacklustre and it's hard to see exactly how it fits the main story. It appears more of an excuse for DeMille to work in some epic grandeur (from 1918 to 1922 he only made contemporary dramas and comedies) and MacPherson to explore her interest in reincarnation. The story does need a dramatic highpoint at the stage where the flashback comes in, but they could have done better than the Babylon sequence. Overall however Male and Female is free of much of the preachiness, questionable morality and plot holes that mar many of Jeanie MacPherson's screenplays.

Male and Female was Paramount's highest grossing film of 1919, which is no surprise. DeMille's steady flow of captivating images and his emphasis on acting performances are at their best here. In certain aspects it may appear dated, but as with many of DeMille's films we have to suspend our dependence on realism and plausibility. Of course, the island where the action takes place, with its convenient abundance of edible wildlife, sailing distance from England yet remote enough to be shipwrecked for two years, could never really exist – but it's an unreal place created to serve the story. Taken as the silent melodrama that it is, this is a stunning motion picture.


8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?