Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mae West: Lloyd Bridges

MAE WEST was in one motion picture with handsome Lloyd Bridges, who was 30 at the time.
• • Born in San Leandro, California on 15 January 1913, Lloyd Bridges died during the month of March — — on 10 March 1998 — — of natural causes at age 85. Best known as Mike Nelson, the manly frogman who made a splash on TV's undersea adventure series "Sea Hunt" [1958 — 1961], Bridges had been briefly blacklisted for political activism during the Joe McCarthy era. He is also the father of the actors Beau Bridges and Jeff Bridges.
• • Critics didn't even break a sweat when they rushed to judgment on the rather lame 1943 "comeback comedy" that ran for an unfunny 79 minutes. For instance, the headline for the review in The New York Times razzed: "The Heat Is Definitely Off!"
• • In his All Movie Guide, Hal Erickson offers this fair assessment: After an absence of three years, Mae West returned to the screen in the musical comedy "The Heat's On." La West is cast as Fay Lawrence, a famous Broadway actress who is loved intensely by her producer Tony Ferris (William Gaxton). Rival producer Forrest Stanton (Alan Dinehart) steals Fay away from Ferris by convincing her that she's been blacklisted from Broadway by blue-nosed moralist Hannah Bainbridge (Almira Sessions). Meanwhile, Hannah's puckish brother Hubert (Victor Moore) syphons money from his sister's "clean up show business" committee to produce a musical show for his actress niece Janey (Mary Roche). Somehow, all these characters converge for a spectacular closing production number spotlighting the formidable Fay. Part of the reason for the failure of "The Heat's On" is the fact that Mae West didn't write her own dialogue, as was usually her custom. The film performed so poorly that it would be 27 years before West would again appear on the Big Screen.
• • Presenting a tertium quid, however, Guy Savage cannily observes: "The Heat’s On" (AKA Tropicana) is a sly knock at censorship and how it affects the entertainment industry. Broadway legend Fay Lawrence (Mae West) is in "Indiscretions" — — a show that’s destined to flop — — until producer Tony Ferris (William Gaxton) gets the bright idea to get some free publicity on an indecency issue. ...

• • The director responsible for this rum-soaked cinematic mirth-quake was Gregory Ratoff.
• • The appealing costume designs for Mae West were done by Walter Plunkett.
• • The main cast was:
• • Mae West — — Fay Lawrence
• • Victor Moore — — Hubert Bainbridge
• • Lloyd Bridges — — Andy Walker
• • William Gaxton — — Tony Ferris
• • Mary Roche — — Janey Bainbridge
• • Hazel Scott — — Herself
• • Lester Allen — — Mouse Beller
• • Xavier Cugat — — Xavier Cugat

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1943 • •
Mae West.

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