6.2/10
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5 user 3 critic

A Florida Enchantment (1914)

Unrated | | Comedy | 4 September 1916 (Sweden)
A young woman discovers a seed that can make women act like men and men act like women. She decides to take one, then slips one to her maid and another to her fiancé. The fun begins.

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Bessie Horton (as Jane Morrow)
Ada Gifford ...
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Lillian Burns ...
Grace Stevens ...
Allan Campbell ...
Cortland Van Deusen ...
Frank O'Neil ...
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A young woman discovers a seed that can make women act like men and men act like women. She decides to take one, then slips one to her maid and another to her fiancé. The fun begins.

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Comedy

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Unrated
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4 September 1916 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Lillians förvandling  »

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1.33 : 1
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Goofy Gender Bender
30 October 2009 | by See all my reviews

This early feature-length film, "A Florida Enchantment", has a novel and goofy story of a woman discovering old seeds that reverse one's gender. She and her servant take one each and, supposedly, become men (although they're still played by the same actresses and, often, appear to the other characters to be female when they're wearing dresses). She also gives one to her fiancé, and he is thus feminized. The narrative, however, is lacking beyond the comedy of genders exaggerating the characteristics of the opposite sex. There are party and travel scenes that don't progress the plot. This gender-bending comedy probably would've fit the one or two-reel format better than it does the hour-plus length. In fact, an early short film, Alice Guy's "The Consequences of Feminism" (Les Résultats du féminism)(1906) was a similar gender-role-reversal farce. Additionally, this narrative suggests some homosexuality and, especially, cross-dressing, but not in any daring way, but rather as an extension of the gender-reversal amusement.

The gender transformations are less than convincing, but I suppose that doesn't matter. More bothersome is the servant characters in blackface and the otherwise rather racist characterizations of blacks in this film. The goggled eyes and jokes based on the servant's stupidity or the lead character striking her maid made valet are insulting rather than funny. Otherwise, the film is of little cinematic interest. It's rather prosaically filmed. There are a few abrupt cuts, which don't distinguish the passing of time (i.e. direct cuts instead of fades or something similar). Overall, "A Florida Enchantment" is, at best, mildly amusing in parts.


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