Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mae West: Posterity vs Variety

The vast encumbrance of sourpuss spite directed at MAE WEST by Variety has been weighed by a number of biographers — — but not measured, inch by column inch. If it were, that unrelenting ferocity might be approximately the length that lightwaves travel through the universe of middle-aged actresses.
• • Variety was in the minority. Thousands of ticket-holders applauded on 27 January 1933, and Paramount Pictures executives scissored the California day's blue slips into dance, their accountant's pencil's lead a single thought to push toward glimmer, thanks to Mae's idle curves spilling suggestively toward Cary Grant, an odalisque stretching out in a Bowery saloon during a dry year [Prohibition, after all] that made the sight of nickel beer on tap at Gus Jordan's toast the kind of conflict desire can create.
• • Posterity has the laurels all over "She Done Him Wrong," always among the top-rated motion picture classics.
• • The movie became a box office blockbuster, despite the snot-nosed Variety review that razzed the 39-year-old comedienne, saying she was being rushed to stardom, deeming that “this premature shove to the foreground could retard her progress.” With predictions like those, Variety, better avoid the betting tables and be careful around unreadable stars.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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Mae West.

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