Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mae West: Belle du 73 Minutes

It was 19 March 1934 and MAE WEST had sin on her mind. Her new screen gem for Paramount Pictures began production on that date with a spunky working title: "It Ain't No Sin."
• • Yes, yes, talk about waving a wide red handkerchief in front of Joe Breen's blue nose.
• • In his fascinating All Movie Guide, cinema critic Hal Erickson had this to say: Originally titled "It Ain't No Sin" until the censors prevailed, then "Saint Louis Woman" and "Belle of New Orleans" — — until complaints were registered from those two communities — — "Belle of the Nineties" [runtime: 73 minutes] was Mae West's first post-Production Code film.
• • Mae West is cast as cabaret entertainer Ruby Carter, plying her trade along the Mississippi. Having no trouble surviving on her own terms in a man's world, Ruby fends off the unwarranted attentions of a steady stream of libidinous males, reserving her affections for a muscular boxer called The Tiger Kid (Roger Pryor).
• • In keeping with the star's casual liberality, a number of black entertainers and athletes are given ample opportunities in this film, notably Duke Ellington and His Orchestra. The surest sign that the Code had "tamed" West a bit is the fact that she actually marries the hero at film's end. The musical highlights include West's unforgettable rendition of "My Old Flame."
• • Source: Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • 1934 • •

Mae West.

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