Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mae West: Drifting Lady

MAE WEST was featured in footage from a fake film called "Drifting Lady." The motion picture "Go West Young Man" [1936] begins as ticket-holders gather in a movie house for the premiere of "Drifting Lady," starring Mavis Arden (Mae West) of Superfine Pictures, Inc. Thus the first ten minutes onscreen is actually a movie within a movie, kicking off with Xavier Cugat conducting his orchestra as Mavis Arden sings "On a Typical Tropical Night." Then the action depicts her heartless character romancing one man, then betraying another — — Rico (Jack LaRue), a married man — — a lover quickly discarded for a third suitor (G.P. Huntley Jr.). Then the bad girl mood is broken as Mavis assures her fans: "That, my dear friends, was 'Drifting Lady,' but it was not, please believe me, the real Mavis Arden."
• • Raquel Torres has a brief role here, billed as Rico's Girlfriend in "Drifting Lady," and this would turn out to be her last time before a camera. When she was 34 years old, Raquel abruptly decided to retire from Tinseltown once she began dating a wealthy stockbroker Stephen Ames who bought her a Rolls Royce; the couple wed in 1935. Oddly enough, her career had been blossoming and she already had a dozen films to her credit before she was hired for the cameo in Mae's comedy.
• • Born on 11 November 1908 in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico as Paula Osterman, the five-foot-two beauty arrived in Hollywood at the age of 19 and won instant attention for her sex appeal and poise in W.S. Van Dyke's White Shadows in the South Seas (1928). Half German and half Mexican, she was often cast as a bi-racial seductress or an exotic Jezebel. Fortunately, she got a chance to display her finesse as a comedienne, too, in "Duck Soup" [1933]. Fans of the Marx Brothers will recall when Raquel inspired Groucho's classic line: "I could dance with you until the cows came home. On second thought, I'd rather dance with the cows until you came home."
• • In addition to being cast in thirteen films between 1928 — 1936, Raquel Torres was also seen on Broadway in "Adam Had Two Sons" [1932]. Clearly, nuptial bliss had more appeal than the demands of the silver screen. She died in Los Angeles due to complications following a stroke in the month of August — — on 10 August 1987. She was 78.
• • Mae West & Eugene O'Neill: Off-beat Links • •
• • Eugene O'Neill was a native New Yorker, perhaps the only American playwright actually born in the heart of Times Square in a hotel on Broadway and West 43rd Street. Mae West was born on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge. However, her name spent a lot of time on the marquee of Paramount Pictures, a movie house located in the Paramount Building on Broadway and West 43rd.
• • On Sunday afternoon, 14 August 2011 • •
• • "Mae West in Bohemia — — Gin, Sin, Censorship, and Eugene O'Neill"
• • Mae West's birthday is August 17th. Join us at 3:00 pm on Sunday afternoon, 14 August 2011. The title of this illustrated historical theme walk is "Mae West in Bohemia — — Gin, Sin, Censorship, and Eugene O'Neill." Rare vintage illustrations will show you how the buildings and blocks looked as these two theatre people saw them.
• • Where: This illustrated walking tour begins at 62 West Ninth Street, NYC (near Sixth Avenue). Join us and take a walk on the wild side this weekend.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West wrote this movie dialogue for her character in "Go West Young Man":
• • Rico in 'Drifting Lady': You do not think you can discard Rico so easily, do you?
• • Mavis Arden: If necessary, I'll have to do it the hard way. Rico, you're through — — through as an old tomato can.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Mae West is mentioned in Cary Grant's biography.
• • Biographer Marc Eliot writes: One of the most famous (and often misquoted) lines in all of film history is uttered in "She Done Him Wrong" with a moistness hard to misinterpret, when Lil meets Cummings for the first time and says, “Why don’t you come up sometime, see me, I’ll tell your fortune.” By the end of the film, after a series of bizarre plot twists, love changes and redeems them both. In the final scene, Cummings leads her away, with the strong suggestion he is going to reform her first, then marry her. They get into a cab and Cary Grant removes all the rings on her fingers so he can slip a single small diamond on one. Lady Lou looks into his eyes and murmurs, “Tall, dark, and handsome,” to which he replies, “You bad girl.” “You’ll find out,” she says, sucking in her cheeks and smiling wickedly as the film ends. ...
• • Source: An excerpt from "Cary Grant: A Biography" by Marc Eliot, published by Harmony Books in 2004
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2018th 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.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West's castmate • • Raquel Torres in 1936 • •
• • Feed — —
Mae West.

No comments:

Post a Comment