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Just a Gigolo

(1931 b 66')

En: 5 Ed: 5)

Based on Alexander Engel's play, an upperclass British playboy tests the woman his uncle wants him to marry by pretending to be a gigolo.

Lord Robert Brummel (William Haines) hides one woman after another in his apartment in Paris, the first from her husband and the second from his Uncle George (C. Aubrey Smith). George is tired of paying for Robert's extravagant lifestyle and irritated by his not meeting with his creditors. He wants Robert to get married and suggests Roxana; but Robert does not trust women. Robert promises he will marry her if she proves virtuous for a month. Roxana (Irene Purcell) and her mother Jane dine with George. Roxana chatters vivaciously and mentions a new book on sex relations. She has hired a dancing partner, who turns out to be Robert using another name. After one evening of dancing Roxana calls him a gigolo and doesn't see him for two weeks. Robert manages to meet her in the country; they have fun at a picnic as he talks to a steer, and they hide from bees under a tablecloth. He explains why he is a gigolo. He couldn't marry, because he loves only her, and she would never marry a gigolo.

On the last day of the month George visits Robert, threatening to expose him. George tells Roxana not to go to Robert's apartment, and she hears him giving a dancing lesson. She calls Robert and invites him up at 5. She accuses him of dancing with another woman in violation of the exclusive agreement. Robert asks for pity and says they love each other. He suggests they go away for one evening, but Roxana won't cheat the man she'll marry. She kisses him and pushes him out the door. Her maid tells her he is not a gigolo but the Lord Robert Brummel she's supposed to marry. Roxana decides to teach him a lesson. Robert happily tells George he must marry Roxana. Then the maid brings the gardenia that means she accepts his assignation. Robert has to find out about her and sends her a note to meet him at the airport. They fly to the inn while George and her mother are driving there. Robert complains about the inn, but Roxana says she knew this would happen, telling of other affairs. She changes into her pajamas. Then suddenly she slaps Robert and says she'll never marry him. Robert happily says he loves her, as George and her mother come in. Roxana retreats into the shower; in the final scene she turns on the water, and he kisses her.

This story flirts with and affirms the double standard that allows men to sow wild oats before marriage, while women are supposed to remain virgins. Yet the character of Roxana teaches Robert that faithful love is possible and more promising than easy conquests.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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