Lillian Travers, a young heiress, travels from New York to Florida to surprise her fiancé, a doctor who’s seasonally employed at a St. Petersburg hotel. Upon arrival, however, she becomes furious to discover many of the female guests lavishing attention on her husband-to-be, and in a moment of frustration she swallows a seed that transforms men into women and vice versa. Her butch metamorphosis thus begins, and soon she’s kissing and courting every woman in sight, much to the chagrin of her erstwhile lover. Confusions comically mount, and by film’s end the doctor has tried the magic seed as well, to similar effect. In some respects, like its use of blackface, the film is odiously of its moment, yet in other ways it’s quite remarkable, offering an elaborate fantasy of gender variance that transcends the transvestite gags so common to the silent era. Print courtesy of Frameline.
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