Film ID:
NEFA 21272

DOUBLE TROUBLE

1936

Visitor Tabs

Description

Cross-dressing is at the heart of this farcical 1930s comedy. Charlie’s wife leaves him just before an important uncle’s visit and he is forced to improvise to keep his inheritance. A friend adopts a female disguise with a Mae West wig and lashings of make-up to help him out. This film was produced by Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) member, Leslie Greaves.

Credit: A Greavnell Production

Title: Double Trouble

Title: Directed and Produced by Leslie Greaves

Credits: The Cast

Charlie – Arthur Bailey

His Wife – Madeline Hellam

His Friend – ‘Bud’ Sawyer

His Uncle – Jack Nellist

The Baileys, a newlywed young couple are having a row. Charlie hides behind a sofa in the living room and his wife throws cushions at him in frustration. He crawls out and starts shaking her. She kicks him in the shin and bursts out laughing. He dances around with her and pulls her onto the sofa, and begins to spank her. He finds this amusing. She gets away from him, and slaps him.

Title: “I’m going home to Mother!”

She storms off. He rubs his sore cheek.

Charlie collects the mail from the hall. He opens a telegram announcing a visit to Newcastle from his Uncle Charles, who would like to drop by to meet Charlie’s new wife on his way to catch the boat train. Charlie checks the time. There is just over an hour before his relative arrives to meet the wife who has now left him. Charlie makes a phone call. His wife picks up.

Title: “But I’m his heir … he has pots of money and he would like to see you!”

His wife declines to come home and slams the phone down. He ponders his dilemma. He makes another call to his friend and they discuss the problem.

Title: “You are in a spot, old man …… I’ll come over.”

Charlie’s friend frowns and considers his friend’s predicament.

The two are now seated on the Bailey’s sofa, with several smoked cigarettes in the ashtray. Charlie looks fed up. They mull over the dilemma but can’t think of a plan. Charlie picks up a newspaper. He reads a small article with the headline and sub: “Woman Sues Hairdresser for Loss of Hair: Claims She will now have to wear wig …”. Charlie examines his friend’s face, then rushes off. Puzzled, the friend looks at the newspaper Charlie was reading. Charlie emerges from the bedroom with an old biscuit tin and pulls out a female wig, in something of a Mae West style. The two will have to improvise for the uncle’s visit.

Title: “You must be wife … Strictly for one performance only!”

He hands his friend the curly blonde wig. His friend doesn’t look too happy. He tries on the wig, and keeps puffing out his cheeks. His friend then throws him one of his wife’s dresses too, laughing. The friend finally agrees. He pouts and poses. The film immediately cuts to Charlie’s friend dressed in the wig and dress. He walks over and sits on the sofa next to Charlie, with his legs wide apart. Charlie looks at his profile.

Title: “… The face is awful … perhaps a little warpaint …”

The friend is even less happy. Charlie begins to apply make-up, smiling, and starts with a powder puff. He then applies lipstick. The friend is now heavily made-up (but still looks like a man). He puckers his lips so Charlie can put on more lipstick. Suddenly there’s a noise. The two look around. Charlie’s wife has decided to return, and catches the two of them together on the sofa, the friend disguised as a woman. She looks quite stern. Charlie tries to explain. But the wife refuses to listen.

Title: “... and this time I won’t return …. I’m going to pack … You … You … Bluebeard!”

Charlie’s wife storms off to pack her bags and he gives chase. The doorbell sounds. The uncle has arrived. Charlie lets his uncle in and walks him to the living room, resigned to his fate. In the living room, his friend is reclining with a cigar, when he suddenly hears the door handle turn. He hurriedly hides his cigar and adjusts his dress. The uncle enters. He is introduced to the friend in drag as Charlie’s new wife. They sit down and talk. The disguise seems to be working. His uncle is fooled. The friend suddenly kisses the uncle on his bald head, leaving a lipstick smear. She / he giggles coquettishly, but then discovers the burning cigar down his dress, panics and throws it over his shoulder.

In the bedroom, Charlie’s wife continues to pack. Down in the living room, Charlie’s friend lights the uncle’s cigar. The wife then comes into the room. The friend in drag gets on his knees to the uncle and begins to make up a cover story. Annoyed, the wife walks over to attack this ‘other woman’ and accidently pulls off his wig. She bursts out laughing. Charlie’s friend looks sulky, his disguise revealed. The uncle takes off his glasses in surprise.

Title: “Just like I used to be … you will have your little joke!”

The uncle finds the situation hilarious. Relieved, Charlie laughs along with his uncle. The bemused wife looks at the wig and she too begins to see the funny side. All three laugh as they survey Charlie’s friend in his make-up and dress. The friend takes up a pose and lip-purses. Then he too bursts out laughing.

Title: The End