starring Thomas Meighan, Gloria Swanson, Lila Lee, Theodore Roberts
March, 1920

James M. Barrie originally wrote "The Admirable Crichton," an assurance of its excellence far more potent than the best trademark for merchandise. Cecil B. De Mille translated "The Admirable Crichton" into the shadow drama, an equal assurance of a first-class product. By this time practically everyone knows that the story deals with a butler, servant to an English nobleman and his daughter, who, when all are wrecked on a desert island, becomes not only their equal, but a sort of king . . . only to find himself upon their return to civilization again put in his proper place. I venture to say that there is no one dabbling in screen art today who can be relied on for such gorgeous productions as De Mille. He paints with a lavish brush. The sensuous loveliness of his pictures is remembered long after other pallid photoplays have been forgotten. Here Gloria Swanson, indeed a beautifully modeled subject, is the chief mummer for his lavishness. Such glittering costumes of gold, soft furs, rare pearls and shimmering silks! Bebe Daniels and Mildred Reardon also contribute veritable dreams of feminine beauty to the tale, but as one healthy-minded American behind me remarked, sarcastically, "Gee, I bet they'd be a help around the house!" So it happens that in spite of all their graces, like Cinderella, Lila Lee, portraying the part of the maid, Tweenie, only, touches the heart-cords of our American audiences. Lila Lee it is who romps away with our sympathy. This is by far the best performance she has ever given and demonstrates not only that she has the courage to go on in small parts and prove her right to stardom, but the ability as well. Thomas Meighan is entirely satisfactory as the butler, Crichton, but I, for one, see nothing in his performance to merit stardom.

starring Thomas Meighan, Gloria Swanson, Lila Lee, Theodore Roberts
November 24, 1919

Cecil B. De Mille's "Male and Female" came to the Rivoli yesterday.

When it was announced that Mr. De Mille would produce a screen version of "The Admirable Crichton" but that the title would be changed to the phrase from Genesis, it was explained that the original title would cause confusion in the minds of exhibitor sand the movie-going public. Many people, it was said, did not know how to pronounce "Crichton," and some were under the impression that he was a naval officer of high rank. These explanations, however, do no justify the dropping of the name of Barrie's play. It is justified by he simple fact that "Male and Female" is not "The Admirable Crichton" at all. It is not Barrie. It is not English. It is a typically American movie romance.

This should be borne in mind by those who know and love - and all who know must love - "The Admirable Crichton." Mr. De Mille has a right to borrow Barrie's story, alter and arrange it to suit his purpose, completely change its emphasis and character, and issue the product of his motion picture mind under the title of "Male and Female." This is his right, and not one should deny it. In this connection it is important only that everyone realize at the outset what Mr. De Mille has done, so that no one will wast time and perhaps spoil the picture for himself by expecting to find Barrie in it.

"Male and Female" should be considered simply as a motion picture. As such it has noteworthy merit. It is not, as its title, certain scenes and lettered labels seek to make it, a philosophic presentation of elemental human realities. It is a movie romance, and those who "go to the theatre to be entertained" need not be afraid of it. Of course, if any one is profoundly impressed by the solemn assurance that the best looking, most competent man and the prettiest girl of a party shipwrecked on an island will, in two years, gravitate toward each other, regardless of the fact that in England one was a butler and the other a "lady," for that one "Male and Female" is apocalyptic. But the same person should ponder deeply over the revelation that two and two make four.

The press notice sent out about the production states that "the shipwreck scene in which a real ship meets a real wreck; the Babylonian episode, where Crichton's dream that he as a King in Babylon and Lady Mary a Christian slave, is visualized, and the bathroom scene, are three features that stand out." This is true, and serves to indicate the nature of "Male and Female." Lavishly staged, skillfully directed, adequately acted, with a good story well told, it is a remarkable movie.
First credit for its excellence should go to Mr. De Mille, for without his ability behind the camera much of he material used might have been wasted. Those in the cast, however, deserve recognition for more than satisfactory work, especially Theodore Roberts as Lord Loam, Gloria Swanson as Lady Mary, Thomas Meighan as Crichton, Lila Lee as Tweeny, Raymond Hatton as the Honroable Ernest Wooley (sic), and Robert Cain, as Lord Brockelhurst.

For more information, see "Male and Female" as our "Feature of the Month"

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