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The Gay Deception (1935)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 13 September 1935 (USA)
Mirabel wins a $5,000 lottery which will enable her to live like a queen in New York. There she meets Sandro, a bellboy who is really a prince, so she does get to be a queen after all.



(original screenplay) (as Stephen Avery), (original screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Miss Channing
Lord Clewe
Lennox Pawle ...
Adele St. Mauer ...
Lucille (as Adele St. Maur)
Mr. Squires
Mr. Spitzer
Peg DeForrest
Barbara Fritchie ...
Joan Dennison
Bell Captain
Robert Greig ...


Mirabel wins a $5,000 lottery which will enable her to live like a queen in New York. There she meets Sandro, a bellboy who is really a prince, so she does get to be a queen after all. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

13 September 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

April Folly  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(copyright length) (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


William Wyler had to alter some of his shots when it became apparent that Frances Dee was pregnant (with Jody McCrea). See more »

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User Reviews

THE GAY DECEPTION (William Wyler, 1935) ***
1 August 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This is the first of a 3-movie tribute (though I own a number of his other efforts that remain unwatched) which I will be undertaking on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of distinguished (if not a personal favorite) director Wyler's passing. Despite an unfortunate title – which, at this juncture, makes it sound like a biopic of Rock Hudson (or even John Travolta)! – this is an unassuming but nice addition to the spate of sophisticated/crazy romantic comedies to emerge during Hollywood's Golden Age (thematically, it recalls James Whale's equally delightful BY CANDLELIGHT {1934}). Wyler would display this kind of light touch only sporadically throughout his career (for the record, my viewing of its not-too-dissimilar predecessor THE GOOD FAIRY from the same year is upcoming), mainly losing himself in significant solemnity thereafter: while this may have won him numerous accolades over the years, it certainly did not endear him to critics who abided by the auteur theory!

Anyway, the central casting here seems second-rate upon a preliminary glance but Frances Dee proves appealingly gauche along the way (as a small-town girl who, having won $5000 in a melon contest{!}, tries to pass herself off as a society woman while on a New York spending spree), whereas Francis Lederer is a revelation: best-known for playing sinister types (as in Jean Renoir's masterful THE DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID {1946} and the low-budget but inventive THE RETURN OF Dracula {1958}) or suave aristocratic seducers (notably Mitchell Leisen's sparkling MIDNIGHT {1939}), he retains the latter qualities here – in the role of the prince of a fictional Middle-European country posing as a hotel bell-boy! – but invests the character with quick-witted cunning and infectious charm.

The scene is thus set for a multitude of complications: Dee is misguidedly feted by the hotel staff, though still shunned by the true elite (exemplified by Benita Hume – Ronald Colman's wife – and Alan Mowbray) who can spot her modest origins a mile off; Lederer's savoir faire attitude belies his assumed rank (and even lands him in trouble with his 'superiors': forever losing his job, he then has his country's N.Y. embassy pull the necessary strings in order to get him reinstated!), while also initially putting the ingenuous heroine ill-at-ease. The eccentric, child-like ambassador himself (DAVID COPPERFIELD {1935}'s Lennox Pawle) has his hands full trying to keep Lederer's ruse a secret from a couple of investors of dubious morals (Lionel Stander and Akim Tamiroff) – so that, when taking Dee to a ball under his real guise and ostensibly exposed as a fraud, having had to assemble his officious wardrobe from bits and pieces belonging to various people at the hotel (including ubiquitous character actors Luis Alberni and Robert Greig), Pawle cannot vouch for the prince, and the latter is thus thrown in jail! An earnest Dee tries to intervene, believing Lederer had done this grand gesture for her sake…but, upon being revealed for what he really is, she feels used by him and flees in humiliation, intent on going back home. The inevitable last-scene reconciliation, then, is brought on by the simple (i.e. idealized) act of having the hero sneak into the leading lady's room dressed-up once again in a bell-boy's uniform!

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