Countess Charming (1917)

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The "heroine" of The Countess Charming was actually the hero, played by legendary female impersonator Julian Eltinge. The star plays a wealthy bachelor who manages to get himself booted from society when he insults one of the leaders of the "400." Seeking revenge against the insultee, who happens to be a "charity crook," Eltinge disguises himself as a beautiful countess and worms his way into the villain's confidence. Exerting his "feminine wiles," the bogus countess manages to expose the social arbiter as a thief and a reprobate. So convincing was Julian Eltinge's female masquerade that he frequently issued publicity photos of himself smoking cigars and palling around with the likes of Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Tom Mix, just in case anyone might assume that he enjoyed being a "girl."