Thursday, June 23, 2011

What a Drag! Bending Genders Cinema Style

For one's art, an actor must suffer and sometimes cross gender. Some look better than others and some - well - some are just downright ugly! But, the great ones are good sports and throw everything into their role. And sometimes, something strangely sexy happens...

The men have a harder time looking passable, let alone feminine, but some manage to pull it off better than others. The ladies, while hardly ever looking truly masculine (except for a few), always look fetching, no matter how the gender bends. Mascara and lip gloss always seem to be handy.

Here are the Boys!
The Good
These few fellows actually make a passable woman!
Charlie Chaplin in "A Woman" - quite charming, don't you think?
Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie" - who would have guessed?
Shows you what great make-up and a great actor can do!
Sir Alec Guinness in "Kind Hearts and Coronets" -  
she's quite formidable!
Peter Seller in "The Mouse That Roared" - 
makes quite a believable Duchess,  doesn't he?

The Bad
These boys were bad, and fooled no one, but they tried.

Cary Grant in "I Was a Male War Bride" - not Cary's best look,
but  he was a good sport and would do anything for a laugh
Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in "Some Like it Hot" -
yes, they  were  not really believable, but they were so cute!

William Powell in "Love Crazy" - oh Nick Charles! But, 
Bill does make a pretty good fussy old lady

The Really Ugly
These guys are just not in touch with their feminine side!

Gene Hackman in "Birdcage" - so wrong
George Sanders in "The Kremlin Letter" - 
He & Gene Hackman switched at birth?
Fatty Arbuckle - just say "NO"!

Curly - Maybe with a bigger hat....
Lou Costello (right) in "Lost in a Harem" - 
Lou looks as though he wandered in from "Birdcage"
Robert Preston in "Victor Victoria" - 
Not pretty, but funny as hell
Johnny Depp in "Before Night Falls" - 
some may like this look, but me? Not so much.

Here Come the Girls

The Cute
These girls might not have quite passed, but they sure looked adorable.
Louise Brooks in "Beggars of Life" - 
Louise always looked stylish, no matter what she wore
Edna Purviance in "Behind the Screen" - 
hmm.... Charlie is strangely attracted
Jessie Matthews in "First a Girl" - 
the early British version of "Victor/Victoria"
Julie Andrews in "Victor/Victoria" - 
she looks pretty feminine to me!
Miriam Hopkins in "She Loves Me" - 
Miriam is still cute as a button
Marion Davis in "Little Old New York" - WR Hearst liked to see her
 dressed as a boy. Let's not even go there.
Janet Gaynor in "Sunny Side Up" - pretty cute, pretty close
Merle Oberon in "A Song to Remember" - 
a lady to her fingertips (but very chic)

The Sexy
These 2 women defined continental sex appeal. No matter what the gender, they were hot.
Marlene Dietrich - the Queen

Garbo - always kept them guessing (beautifully)

The Disturbing
Sorry, but this makes me a little uncomfortable...
Katharine Hepburn in "Sylvia Scarlett"-  
Her co-star was Cary Grant. 
Not exactly "The Philadelphia Story."

Feeling a bit conflicted? Do you feel the onset on an identity crisis? It will be our little secret. 

Excuse me while I bake a cake. Men, start chopping some lumber!


Rich said...

William Powell kinda looks like Eleanor Roosevelt.

FlickChick said...

I wonder what Nora Charles would think? And Asta?

Robin@DecoratingTennisGirl said...

I loved Garbo clothes in Queen Christina. Those boots and hats were awesome!

FlickChick said...

Garbo is supreme -female or male!

Diane said...

Garbo is great as a man and as a woman. I loved Victor/ of my favs! Great pictures. I loved this post.

FlickChick said...

Merci! Loved the boys as girls and the girls as boys!

ClassicBecky said...

OOOHHH! Hepburn scares me too! Did she have a twin brother?!!
Alec Guinness is hilarious, my favorite man-as-woman!
You are so right -- Hackman and Sanders MUST have been could gorgeous George look so ugly?!
The ladies in your "cute" category are all just plain -- cute!
And I have to say, the reason Robert Preston doesn't make it as a woman is because he is just ALL MAN (I guess you can tell I'm rather fond of him).
Chick, this was fun!

FlickChick said...

Becky, I agree 100% (especially about Mr. Preston!)

Flapper Flickers + Silent Stanzas said...

Great post! That photo of William Powell always cracks me up. LOL

The photo of Brooksie is actually from "Beggars of Life", a silent she made with Wallace Beery. Both deal with ridin' the rails, though ^_^

FlickChick said...

Oh my - you are so right! I must have been nipping the Cabernet a little too mcuh that day! All better -and again, thanks so much.

Unknown said...

This is one of my favoritest posts of all time! I love it! (although i must take a moment to bitch because you didn't include clara's cross dressing stint from "down to the sea in ships") Still, One of the best posts ever! Gold star!(You may cash this gold star in absolutely nowhere)Is this your queer blogathon post? or are you even participating? Cuz I know that I ran into a crap load of cross dressing when I was researching gays in classic film for my LGBT Post. Anywho, that's all for now...

FlickChick said...

You know - I did not participate in the blogothon, but I guess I could have! Sorry about omitting Clara, but I had to leave so many out - I think there is a Part 2 out there in the future! Thanks for the kind words!

Stefanie Magura said...

Your post was pretty timely considering the blogathon which was going on over at Garbo Laughs. And on a related note, a blogger who participated did a review of the French version, of the Bird Cage; it's the original.

FlickChick said...

Thanks, Stef - I'll check it out. I should have participated - But I forgot all about it (but maybe not...).

Stefanie Magura said...

You're welcome. :)