6.6/10
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The Danger Girl (1916)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Short | 13 August 1916 (USA)
Madcap Gloria disguises herself as a man, in order to lure a "dangerous" vamp away from her beau, Bobbie.

Director:

Clarence G. Badger
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Cast

Cast overview:
Bobby Vernon ... Bobby - a Young Gentleman
Gloria Swanson ... The Danger Girl - Reggie's Madcap Sister
Helen Bray Helen Bray ... The Worldly Woman
Reggie Morris Reggie Morris ... Reggie aka Honey Boy
Myrtle Lind Myrtle Lind ... Bobby's Former Sweetheart
A. Edward Sutherland ... Last Season's Suitor
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Storyline

Madcap Gloria disguises herself as a man, in order to lure a "dangerous" vamp away from her beau, Bobbie.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Short

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 August 1916 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Love on Skates See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Keystone Film Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although some sources list Mack Swain in the cast of this film, he does not appear. The rotund actor who appears briefly in the restaurant sequence is not Swain. See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Madcap" Gloria Swanson cuts loose as a cross-dressing heiress
15 December 2002 | by wmorrow59See all my reviews

For those viewers who know Gloria Swanson only as the aging lunatic Norma Desmond, the Keystone comedies she made at the dawn of her career should come as a revelation. In The Danger Girl, made for Mack Sennett in 1916, Gloria is young, energetic, and startlingly pretty. Not long after this, once DeMille had "discovered" her and starred her in a series of domestic dramas, her acting style and very appearance changed; her performances became more self-conscious and calculated, while her face took on an angular quality, rather like Joan Crawford in a later era, but in these early comedies she's still fresh and unspoiled. During 1916-7 Swanson appeared in a series of two-reel comedies for Sennett, mostly opposite the boyish Bobby Vernon, and the surviving examples are generally great fun to watch -- if you can keep up with 'em, that is.

I'll say this for the Swanson-Vernon comedies: they aren't always funny, or even coherent, but they sure do move! Despite running only eighteen minutes or so they generally pack enough plot for a couple of feature films. I've seen The Danger Girl twice and still can't quite follow everything that's happening, but I don't believe any footage is missing, it's just the way they did these things. The filmmakers throw you into the middle of the story with the situation already in progress, introduce the characters with cryptic descriptive titles, accelerate, and then leave it up to you to piece the story together.

Is it worth the effort? Well, The Danger Girl is an early entry, and doesn't represent the peak of the Swanson-Vernon series (that would be the better known Teddy at the Throttle, in my opinion), but if you enjoy light comedy with a touch of cross-dressing, this may be the one for you. The story concerns romantic complications among a carefree set of wealthy young people; the sort of people who "summer" at one resort and "winter" at another, and seem to have a great deal of time to play tennis, ride horseback, and attend parties. More to the point, where this film is concerned, these young moderns put a lot of time and energy into pairing off, breaking up, and pairing off again in new combinations. The focal point of the plot, as best I can tell, is Gloria's effort to lure a notorious vamp, Helene, away from her own intended beau, Bobbie (i.e. Bobby Vernon). Interestingly, Gloria's most potent weapon is her disguise as an elegant young bachelor, who immediately draws Helene's eye. Actually, Gloria in male drag looks about as much like a man as Veronica Lake in Sullivan's Travels, but I have to say she's awfully fetching in a tux.

At any rate, The Danger Girl isn't quite so action-packed as some of the other Swanson-Vernon comedies, but just as you're telling yourself that it's a rather low-key affair, Bobbie races to Gloria's rescue by commandeering a bus and crashing it into a packed restaurant, after which he wildly pummels the first guy he sees -- who just happens to be Gloria in male attire. But not to worry! Order is restored, and things end happily. Besides, these privileged folk look like they can easily afford to replace the destroyed restaurant with a new one, and pay for a fleet of new buses as an afterthought.

Beyond the two leads I'm unable to identify any of the other actors (although Gloria's young friend might be Phyllis Haver), but I'd be especially interested in learning the name of the actress in the title role. Helene the "danger girl" is strikingly attractive, but also surprisingly mature-looking, especially compared to the very boyish Bobby Vernon; their scenes together have distinctly Oedipal undertones. Still, this film might have been enhanced by the florid villainy of Wallace Beery, who helped make Teddy at the Throttle so memorable. For that matter, Teddy the Keystone Dog would've been welcome too, though he might have been obliged to don a disguise of his own (as a Pekinese, perhaps?) to sneak into the posh resorts seen here.


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