Wednesday at CINEFAMILY - Male and Female starring Gloria Swanson
Gloria Swanson's iconic performance as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard is exponentially more affecting in light of its echoing her own life. Swanson's formidable career as a Silent superstar waned with the advent of Talkies, but those who've seen her in one of many silent turns for Cecille B. DeMille will marvel at a romantic lead and fashion icon whose otherworldly command of the screen elicited countless movie-house sighs. DeMille's Male And Female is a special treat, as it's an adaptation of a play by Peter Pan scribe J.M. Barrie. Swanson's onscreen transition from aristocratic haughtiness to humbled maturity ensured the film's position as Paramount's biggest hit of 1919. If you can tear your eyes away from Swanson, look out for a scene which features an actual chloroformed leopard!
Dir. Cecil B. Demille, 1919, 16mm, 116 min. *16mm print courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences*