Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mae West: Referee-ing Chickadee

Edward F. Cline directed a motion picture starring MAE WEST — — but he didn't describe it like that. Instead (recalling the turmoil between the Brooklyn bombshell and her booze-loving co-star), Cline admitted: "I wasn't directing, I was referee-ing."
• • In 1939, Variety's film critic took this view of the finished product: Universal catches Mae West on a delayed rebound from Paramount, teaming her with W.C. Fields for a hefty package of lusty humor. Picture marks return of Mae West to the screen after two years absence. The familiar Westian swagger, drawl, wisecracks and innuendos are all included, likewise the typical Fields routines and quick-triggered comments. Sequences in which the pair work together are reduced to a minimum. Script setup is a continual series of episodes, first with West and then Fields. Story is a reverse twist to "Destry Rides Again" and with western frontier locale . . . [Variety, 31 December 1939].
• • Born on 4 November 1891 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Edward F. Cline entered the world of cinema as an actor with Keystone in 1913, where he encountered a rotund juggler from Pennsylvania, William Claude Dukenfield.
• • Working on "My Little Chickadee" [1940] for Universal Pictures must have been memorable as well as challenging. As the director of "Chickadee," Cline's insistence on having his stars adhere to the script irked the former vaudevillian Fields, who was used to being spontaneous. Cline had objected to the ad-libbing because it caused the crew to snicker and chuckle. In fact, one time Cline's sudden burst of loud laughter necessitated a quick cut at the end of one of Fields's barroom scenes. That year Cline also directed the comedy "The Bank Dick" starring W.C. Fields. He followed up by directing "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break" [1941].
• • Edward Francis Cline died during the month of May — — on 22 May 1961 — — at age 69 in Hollywood, California.
• • PHOTO: a fake marriage between Cuthbert and Miss Flower Belle Lee
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Reflecting upon her divorce from Frank Wallace, Mae West noted this about hastily tying the knot in 1911: "It was later proved to be some knot. The judge must have learned it from a sailor."
• • On Monday, 22 May 1978 • •
• • In May 1978, the subscribers of Time Magazine discovered these felicitous remarks by resident movie critic Gerald Clarke: And her new movie, Sextette, is so bad it's good. Opening her mouth so wide that the pink of her gums shows, Mae West taps her teeth with her fingernails. "See that," she says proudly. "All my own. Not a false one there." Then, holding out her arms so that her wrists protrude from her jacket, she adds, "I've never had any face lifts either. You can tell by my hands and wrists. They can't operate on your hands. I've never had anything done, and I look the way I did when I was 22." You can't argue with a lady, and when the lady will be 85 this summer, who would want to? Sixty years ago Mae West looked in the mirror and ordered the clock stopped. So far as she is concerned, it has never dared to start again .... ["Show Business: At 84 Mae West Is Still Mae West" by Gerald Clarke, Time Magazine, issue for the week of 22 May 1978].
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Reviewing the new screen comedy "Bridesmaids," Carrie Rickey writes: Instead, I submit Exhibits A through J as proof of Why Women Are Funny:
• • Exhibit A: Mae West calculating Cary Grant's assets while explaining her hobby in She Done Him Wrong: "It was a tossup whether I went out for diamonds or sang in the choir. The choir lost." ...
• • Source: Article: "Bridesmaids, why women are funny, and who makes you laugh?" written by Carrie Rickey for; posted on Wednesday, 18 May 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1938th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1940 • •
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