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Male of the Species (1969)

1:17 | Trailer
Never trust a man whoever he is. This is the bitter lesson learned by Mary MacNeil in her relationships with three different men: her father, a mendacious womanizer; a smooth-talking office... See full summary »


Alun Owen
Won 2 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Paul Scofield ... Sir Emlyn Bowen, Q. C.
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michael Caine ... Cornelius
Anna Calder-Marshall ... Mary McNeil
Sean Connery ... MacNeil
Laurence Olivier ... Narrator
Learn more

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Never trust a man whoever he is. This is the bitter lesson learned by Mary MacNeil in her relationships with three different men: her father, a mendacious womanizer; a smooth-talking office flirt, Cornelius; and an aging barrister, Emlyn, who is enchanted by Mary's youthful vitality and charm. Only one of these men will win her heart in the end. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Did You Know?


Screenwriter Alun Owen wrote a follow-up called "Female of the Species", which was specially written for Shirley MacLaine, Faye Dunaway, and Dame Maggie Smith, but this failed to go into production. See more »


Edited from ITV Sunday Night Theatre: MacNeil (1969) See more »

User Reviews

Still indelibly riveting
5 April 2005 | by ebegley2See all my reviews

I am determined to track down this gem that won the Outstanding Dramatic Series: NET Playhouse (NET)at the 21st Emmy Awards 1968–1969, given in June of '69.

Both Paul Scofield (Outstanding Actor - Single Performance) and Anna Calder-Marshall (Outstanding Supporting Actress - Single Performance) won Emmys (which actress was A. C-M. supporting?) A UK website states that Alun Owen wrote a trilogy of half-hour plays introduced by Sir Laurence Olivier: 'MacNeil' (tx. 1/2/1969), starring Sean Connery as a womanising master carpenter, 'Cornelius' (tx. 8/2/1969), with Michael Caine as a concupiscent cockney draughtsman, and 'Emlyn'(tx.15/2/1969), featuring Paul Scofield as an amorous barrister.

We in the States know it as "Prudential's On Stage: Male of the Species" a title which I searched online for years as "Female of the Species" until I read the comments posted here, previously. Now I realize why: the narrator used that phrase and I presumed it to be the title of the PBS program.

At 15 years old, I was stunned that the lead actress could be so cruel to the older gent. I vividly remember how kind he was to her, almost like a mentor, in her first job (a file clerk in a large law office?)but she spurned him. I knew he was a different person without his wig on, but she blew her chance, from my teenage viewpoint.

I can't recall the first episode, but the scene I can't forget is when she overheard the young guy bragging about getting any girl he wanted, and that hardened her against him. I thought both were wrong to play games like that, and the last act is what riveted me because the Scofield character (Emlyn?) had the charity to forgive her when she came back to him looking for a position -- though I am hazy why: fired? resigned?

Despite an obviously poor recollection of this, compared to other posters, I have carried those images with me, searching for "Female of the Species" so that I could finally figure out, now that I am grown, what she saw in Caine and not in Scofield. At the time, I knew none of the performers, but the Scofield scenes are indelible, and I still keep his face in my memory.

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Release Date:

3 January 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lauter Lügen See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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