Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mae West: Brit Chick at BFI

MAE WEST probably would not number "My Little Chickadee" among her favorite motion pictures. Many fans will disagree. In Great Britain, this durable comedy, directed by Edward Cline, will be screened next week at BFI Southbank in London, England.
• • British columnist Peter Bradshaw's delight in this vintage screen gem pulses through his brief review.
• • Peter Bradshaw writes: It has to be the King-Kong-meets-Godzilla event of classic screen comedy: WC Fields teams up with, and indeed ties the marital knot with, Mae West in this ridiculous, and ridiculously funny, 1940 comedy, a preposterous tale from the old west, presented next week as part of the Fields season at London's BFI Southbank.
• • The man himself plays Cuthbert J Twillie, a travelling salesman fond of a drink and the occasional sporting wager, whose business-card announces that he is in the business of "Novelties & Notions." West is Flower Belle Lee, a woman who has scandalised the local community with her romantic adventures. Her chief accuser is a Mrs Gideon, a sour-faced spoilsport played by Margaret Hamilton, better known as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.
• • Flower Belle responds to these calumnies with a defiant hip-wiggle, but nonetheless submits to the general demands that she makes amends by getting married. She weds Cuthbert, whose fraudulent claims of bravery have fluked him into the unlikely job of sheriff in a neighbouring town, but finds Flower Belle intent on withholding his conjugal rights.
• • The script, co-written by the stars, has an outrageous one-liner in every line, and there is a weird yin-yang rightness in the Fields/West pairing. My favourite bit is when Fields is playing poker with his friend, a Native American, who reaches for a bow-and-arrow in a testy moment and gets a whiskey bottle smashed unceremoniously over his head. When Fields is about to be hanged over a misunderstanding, and is asked if he has any last requests, he says: "I'd like to see Paris before I die. Philadelphia will do."
• • Mae West's cool, swaggering delivery is somehow funny all the time — — coupled with that odd, occasional pout which resembles, and may in fact be, a suppressed yawn. A treat.
— — Source: — —
• • Article: "WC Fields teams up with Mae West in this ridiculous, and ridiculously funny, 1940 comedy"
• • BY: Peter Bradshaw | Columnist
• • Published by The Guardian — —
• • Published on: 22 January 2010

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1 comment:

  1. "Flower Belle, what a euphonious appellation. Easy on the ears and a banquet for the eyes".

    May I present my card, my little peachfuzz?