George Cukor, director

Sylvia Scarlett (USA, 1935)

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Sylvia Scarlett is a romantic comedy set in England, in which Hepburn plays a young woman whose father is on the run for embezzlement.  She disguises herself as a boy and calls herself Sylvester to help them avoid detection by the police, and spends much of the movie dressed in male clothing.  Cary Grant plays a Cockney con artist who joins the pair on their journey.   Hepburn’s romantic interest in the film is not Grant, but a handsome artist played by Brian Aherne, who remarks to Sylvester/Sylvia, “There's something that gives me a queer feeling every time I look at you..."  Despite its talented stars and director, Sylvia Scarlett did not appeal to audiences and was a box office flop.  This was not Hepburn’s first experience cross-dressing in a film—she had worn masculine clothing for her role as the daring aviatrix Lady Cynthia Darrington in Christopher Strong (1933), directed by Dorothy Arzner.


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