Friday, March 11, 2011

Mae West: One-Eyed Director

MAE WEST signaled her desire for Raoul Walsh, an intrepid Irishman, to direct her forthcoming motion picture "Klondike Lou" — — via the syndicated gossip column of Louella Parsons during the summer of 1935.
• • In her well-researched and thoroughly engaging biography on the Hollywood headliner, Jill Watts writes: Mae West liked Walsh's willingness to coach rather than direct her. Sidney Skolskv reported that "no matter who is on a Mae West set and who is directing the flicker, you can tell that what Mae West says, goes."
• • Born in the month of March, native New Yorker Raoul Walsh [11 March 1887 — 31 December 1980] was an American film director, actor, founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), and the brother of silent screen actor George Walsh. Born Albert Edward Walsh, he began as a stage actor in New York City in 1909, quickly progressing into film acting. In 1914, he became an assistant to D.W. Griffith and made his first full-length feature film "The Life of General Villa," followed by the critically-acclaimed "Regeneration" [1915], possibly the earliest gangster film.
• • While on location for the film "In Old Arizona," the five-foot-eleven actor suffered a car accident in which he lost his right eye. He never acted again and wore an eye patch for the rest of his life.
• • Raoul Walsh also directed "The Bowery" [1933], featuring Wallace Beery, George Raft, Fay Wray, and Pert Kelton; the movie recounts the story of Steve Brodie, the first man to (supposedly) jump off the Brooklyn Bridge and live to brag about it.
• • The "rowdy touch" was Mae's aim in her upcoming project and she had seen a quality she liked in Walsh's "The Cock-Eyed World" and "What Price Glory?" — — the vehicle that made Victor McLaglen a bold-faced name, a rough hewn beaut Mae was eyeing up for the role of her leading man as she pursued her Klondike quest.
• • When Drinking Gin Was a Sin • •
• • According to Bambi Weavil, Mae West "loved" gin cocktails. How she comes by this fanciful information is not explained, however, Bambi's email is below
— — if you would like to start a discussion with her about Mae West's barroom preferences or how Bambi does her research.
• • Bambi Weavil writes: “Hello, Suckers! Come on in and leave your wallet on the bar!” This is how blonde bombshell Texas Guinan greeted guests at the speakeasies she manned in New York during Prohibition. Famous for wisecracking, running the hottest clubs in town, being hauled off to the pokey on a regular basis and having her joints shut down by Feds, Texas hails from a long tradition of strong women who drink strong spirits. Re-opening after raids, she would sometimes sport a necklace of gold padlocks to show the cops there were no hard feelings.
• • Bambi Weavil adds: While women and men weren’t permitted to mingle without prejudice in the bar until Tex’s time, women like Texas Guinan have owned and operated taverns and been a part of cocktail culture for generations. Ada Coleman, for example, was the first head bartender at the esteemed Savoy Hotel in London. Mae West, Dorothy Parker, and Tallulah Bankhead all had one thing in common besides fame and beauty — — they loved their gin cocktails. ... [Source: "Celebrating Creative Women Who Drink Strong Cocktails Without Pretension" written by Bambi Weavil, Out Impact, Inc.'s CEO/ Founder-President since June 2007; posted on on 10 March 2011; Email: bambi.weavil [at] gmail [dot] com]. Few have called Dorothy Parker "a beauty," and even fewer have described Mae West as a gin-lover, so this view is quite novel.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Similarly, Mae West consciously created her own undulating and moaning "Diamond Lil" persona in part to keep fresh the memory of her beloved Gay '90s mother and found it such a useful armor to slip into for real life that many felt they were one and the same. It was no coincidence that some observers called West, the first actress to subvert misogyny by being sexually assertive, a modern Aphrodite, the Goddess who wore a magic gold girdle and took many lovers. ... [Source: "Good Time Charlie: The Sheen of Hollywood's Restored Rogue Archetype" written by Carl Sferrazza Anthony; posted on the Huff-Post on 10 March 2011].
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1935 • •
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