Thursday, February 4, 2016
Flapper Fever (USA,1924)
Like most situational comedies, this one also talks about equality of genders and marriage.
At the Rosebud Theater, located in the town of Bird Center, there will be a presentation by the Rawsbury Sisters and the local men are very excited about it in advance. We can see by the placard that the girls would not wear lots of clothes in their act and their legs were bare. How outrageous! The actresses clearly represented the 1920s young liberated women, the so-called flappers.
By the way, in one of intertitles it is mentioned that the guys were not exactly Valentinos, in a clear reference to Italian actor Rudolph Valentino, then at the height of his popularity in America, as a symbol of beauty and desired by many women. Another mention to Valentino is made in “The Sheiks of Bird Center”, which was a reference to his most famous film.
The guys were very excited about the show in the opinion of their wives, who are not happy with their husbands’ behavior. The wives are defined as “watch dogs”, which signals their morally strict posture, related to Victorian values and they are also older than the actresses. We can see here another traditional prompt in 1920s comedies: Henpecked husbands. So, the wives bring them to the purity league, probably to avoid them to misbehave during the Rawsbury Sisters act.
However, the husbands would not miss the opportunity to meet the girls in person and they went to the hotel where the actresses stayed to greet them. Unfortunately to those men, their wives caught them red-handed having fun and dancing with the actresses at the hotel. But the guys would not give up the actress so easily. So, the wives tried to censor the Rawsbury Sisters’ act by inspecting their costumes and act before they appear at the theater, as one of intertitles says. And the opposition of Victorian X modern 1920s moral standards gets even more noticeable in this part of the film. Such clash would remain unsolved and not even the misunderstanding in the end of the film could sweeten the wives.