Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mae West: Fascinating Femmes

Media analyst and college instructor Lawrence Jeziak has been focused on MAE WEST as he explores the feminine influence in films.
• • Professor Jeziak, who tours The Great Lakes State facilitating film-related conversations, teaches cinema studies at Oakland Community College in Michigan. His hour-long presentation for general audiences showcases iconic actresses like Mae West and Barbara Stanwyck, whose pre-Production Code work is still considered scandalous, he claims.
• • According to Jeziak, his goal is to help screen scene-sters have more fun at the movie house. Said Jeziak, “For those who are serious about film, maybe my presentations will remind them of other films they’ve seen and enjoyed — — and for others, it might make them think a little deeper about the movies they watch.”
• • Lawrence Jeziak said the role of women in film has changed over the years along with the way culture has viewed the fair sex, from the earliest depictions of housewives, to the screen sirens and femme fatales of film noirs, to present depictions of strong businesswomen and female political leaders. When Hollywood was in its infancy, he noted, there were basically two roles for women in film: the housewife or the whore. [It seems he forgot about the paid housemaid.] “Now you have directors like Sofia Coppola, who is one of only three female directors to be nominated for an Academy Award.”
• • Maybe his discussion will touch on sex symbol Jayne Mansfield, born on 19 April 1933.
• • Mae West, whose vacuum-packed perceptions about her sultry hold on the bodybuilders who comprised "The Mae West Revue" were shattered when a blonde vixen slithered into the nightclub, never forgot the evening when Jayne Mansfield [1933 —1967] surprised her. Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay met when the actress noticed his impressive physique in Mae West's touring nightclub revue. When Mansfield's dinner partner asked her what she wanted, she replied, "I'll have a steak and the man on the left."
• • Presumably Jayne Mansfield got her steak along with her stake in Hargitay's happiness — — and perhaps she, too, rates a mention in Professor Jeziak's oral history of women in soft focus.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • •
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Mae West.

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