The Clever Mrs. Carfax (1917)

Genres - Comedy, Crime, Romance  |  
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Julian Eltinge was the most famous female impersonator of his day -- in fact, Buster Keaton built a joke around his name alone in Seven Chances. So it's no surprise that although he has a male role in this action-packed comedy, the character winds up wearing women's clothing for a good portion of the picture. Temple Trask (Eltinge) publishes a newspaper that has an advice to the lovelorn column written by a "Mrs. Carfax" who happens to be Trask himself. At a college reunion, he brags about being able to impersonate a woman to his old pal, Billy Wise (Fred Church). Wise makes a bet that he won't dare appear in women's clothing in public, and Trask takes him on. But while thus attired, he spies swindler Adrian Graw (Noah Beery) plying his wiles on Trask's sweetheart, Helen Scott (Daisy Robinson). Trask spends the rest of the film as Mrs. Carfax in the flesh, tracking down Graw, his partner Rena Varsey (Rosita Marstini), and retrieving the bonds the pair have stolen from Helen's grandmother, Mary Keyes (Jennie Lee). This was Eltinge's second picture for Paramount.

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Keywords

accident, attraction, couple, criminal, cross-dressing, damsel-in-distress, female-impersonator, investigation, journalism, lonely-hearts-columnist, love, newspaper, reporter, restaurant, sea, shipboard, voyage, wager