If there was one constant in the films of Cecil B. DeMille, it was Julia Faye. From her role as Geraldine Farrar’s handmaiden in DeMille’s Aztec romance, The Woman God Forgot (1917) to her part as the second female lead in The Volga Boatman (1926) to her bit role in The Ten Commandments (1956), Faye can be spotted in most of his films. Fun fact: Faye was the very first Velma! She played the role in the 1927 version of Chicago.
This time, we are going to be enjoying trivia from one of Gloria Swanson and Cecil B. DeMille’s decadent collaborations. Together, director and actress did much to make the post-war movie world an opulent world of wealth and spectacle. Behind the scenes, they remained friends and had an enormous amount of mutual respect. Don’t Change Your Husband was their first collaboration.
(You can read my review here.)
In spite of numerous negotiations and near-misses, the duo’s last film together was the 1921 marital dramedy, The Affairs of Anatol. Well, that is until Sunset Boulevard. (Unless you count those tour of Hollywood documentaries and I don’t.) Part of the reason why that film is so fascinating is that it slithers between fiction and reality and you can never be sure which is which. The use of DeMille and Swanson’s real friendship is just one example.
Availability: Don’t Change Your Husband is available on DVD and via streaming.
One of Cecil B. DeMille’s famous bedroom comedies. Elliott Dexter is a boor who drives away his wife, Gloria Swanson, by smoking cigars and munching onions.
Gloria Swanson is a young wife whose husband is, for lack of a better word, a pigpen. Tired of his slovenly ways and uncaring manner, she leaves him for a better groomed, sweet-talking man. But all is not wine and rose and she soon learns that it may not have been a good idea to change her husband after all. DeMille’s dive into marital comedy is a glimpse of good things to come.
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