Male and Female

USA 1919. Dir Cecil B. DeMille.

With Gloria Swanson, Thomas Meighan. Costume design by Clare West, Mitchell Leisen, Paul Iribe. c.97min

DeMille typically inserted into his modern-day narratives exotic episodes, so-called ‘visions’, that provided seductive fantasy escape and featured climactic costuming. In the film’s notorious dream sequence Gloria Swanson dramatically enters into a lions’ den kitted out in a lavish all-white robe and headdress made of pearls, beads and peacock feathers. The show-stopping outfit was designed by Mitchell Leisen and executed by an entire crew of seamstresses. It was reportedly so heavy that Swanson required the assistance of two members of the crew to move around the set.