Saturday, July 05, 2008

Mae West: Perils & Peroxide

MAE WEST inspired those hard-working film-buffs at River City Cinema. For this year's summer series of six frisky motion pictures al fresco, their theme is "The Perils of Peroxide." Leading off their annual salute to screen gems, River City immediately unleashed a handful of blonde badness by presenting "She Done Him Wrong" — — and look at their poster.
• • They kicked off the Friday film fest with the Bowery queen herself.
• • Chris Smith wrote: that mincing blonde bombshell herself, Mae West, in 1933’s "She Done Him Wrong." What a movie — — and what an outrage it created back in the day with the National Legion of Decency, an organization that successfully pushed for "cleaner" fare after West created her presumed affront to the moral senses.
• • Based on West’s stage play "Diamond Lil," "Wrong" features West in her first starring role in a movie. Here, she’s Lady Lou, a saloon singer with a penchant for diamonds, a bump in her grind, and a way of attracting men that has nothing to do with subtlety —
and everything to do with subtext.
• • Her first line in the movie sets the tone for all that’s to follow: "I’m one of the finest women who ever walked the streets." Another highlight comes when a potential suitor notes that he has heard so much about her. Lou’s response? "Yeah, but you can’t prove it." And on it goes, with the one-liners rolling with uncanny ease and Lou eventually setting her sites on one Captain Cummings, a missionary played by a young Cary Grant, who proves with this early, charismatic performance that he was destined for stardom. . . .
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Byline: Chris Smith
• • Published in: Bangor Daily News [Bangor, Maine 04401]
• • Published on: 27 June 2008
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • "Perils of Peroxide" • •
Mae West.

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