Manhandled (1924)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Janiss Garza

Although an executive at Paramount came up with the racy title for this comedy-drama, the plot came from a Saturday Evening Post story by Arthur Stringer. Tessie McGuire (Gloria Swanson) is a department store clerk. When her sweetheart, auto mechanic Johnny Hogan (Tom Moore) goes to Detroit with a gas saving invention, Tessie's friend, Pinkie (Lilyan Tashman), drags her to a party. The host, sculptor Robert Brandt (Ian Keith), finds Tessie's talent at impersonations amusing (she mimics Charles Chaplin), and hires her as a model. But when he tries to "manhandle" her, she goes to work at the shop of Arno Riccardi (Frank Morgan) -- her job is impersonating a Russian countess. Every man she encounters at the upper reaches of society tries to have his way with her, but Tessie remains staunchly chaste. However, when Hogan returns from his trip (his invention sold), he sees her fancy dresses and believes she is less than spotless. Ultimately, he realizes that Tessie has been faithful all along and the couple is happily reunited. This picture was a departure for Swanson -- her mimicry of Chaplin was totally unexpected (but would be repeated some 25 years later in Sunset Boulevard). It delighted her fans, though, and the film was a huge box-office hit.

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Keywords

aristocracy, department-store, modeling, Russia, store