Little Old New York

Nan Boyd is a professor of women's studies at San Francisco State University and author of Wide-Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965.

Larry Delavan is not quite sure what to think about his long-lost stepbrother who arrives from Ireland just in time to inherit the family estate. When the effeminate young boy, Pat, serenades Larry in the moonlit garden one night and snuggles into his lapel the next day, Larry becomes increasingly confused. Luckily for him, the sprightly youth is actually the beautiful young Patricia (Marion Davies), disguised as her dead brother. As she adjusts to life across the Atlantic, Pat must learn how to act the proper American as well as the proper boy. Set in early-nineteenth-century New York, the film includes in its cast of characters inventor Robert Fulton, banker John Jacob Astor, author Washington Irving, and entrepreneur Cornelius Vanderbilt. Davies is at her comedic best in a bob reminiscent of Asta Nielsen's Hamlet three years earlier. (Rumor has it that W. R. Hearst liked to see his sweetheart in drag.)

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