Sunday, October 09, 2011

Mae West: Delightful Delilah

Unafraid of a challenge, a culture clash, an outlandish costume, nor an opportunity, MAE WEST sang an abbreviated opera aria in her motion picture "Goin' to Town" [released in 1935] decked out, quite hilariously, as the Biblical temptress Delilah. Portraying the star-crossed strongman Samson she serenades was none other than Mae's pesky in-law Vladimir Bykoff [billed as "the Tenor"].
• • Born in Paris in October — — on 9 October 1835 — — Camille Saint-Saens was a French Late-Romantic composer, organist, conductor, and pianist, known especially for The Carnival of the Animals, Danse macabre, Samson and Delilah, Piano Concerto No. 2, Havanaise, etc.
• • Camille Saint-Saëns died of pneumonia at the Hôtel de l' Oasis in Algiers on 16 December 1921.
• • Classical music buffs are either amused by Mae's spunkiness or astonished. Music columnist Tim Smith was most enthusiastic about Mae's aria. Smith wrote: I just love the way she says, "Come here, Sammy," before launching into the abbreviated "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix." It's a performance, needless to say, like no other.
• • On 9 October 1931 • •
• • It was 9 October 1931 when an intriguing item appeared in The Evening Herald. Hollywood news man W.E. Oliver had written: Mae West is writing another play for herself. She plans it for next season, but reveals nothing concerning its title or theme other than: It is a historical romance of the sixteenth century and these few hints have emerged.
• • “The Greeks knew their stuff.... Aristotle you know, laid down the dictum that plays should be written about kings and queens," said Mae West. "I go Aristotle one better and insist that she be a bad queen.... When I’m seen in New York in a new role, I will be seen wearing ermine.”
• • Mae West on the Bookshelf • •
• • Mae West has a section in the book "Great Lives" written by Karen Farrington, just published by BBC Books. Matthew Parris penned the forward. Concise three-page biographies are in this paperback from the serious (scientist Marie Curie) to the entertaining (singer Elvis Presley). Good luck to the British author.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: “I'm a good woman for a bad man." [Cleo Borden said it in "Goin' to Town," 1935.]
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about Cadaques, Spain mentioned Mae West.
• • Janet K. Keeler writes: Nevertheless, we feel Dalí's spirit in his Figueres museum-home, or maybe a playful wink as we climb the stairs to look through the frame of Mae West's hair and onto a living room scene where a red couch is fashioned into seductive lips and two pictures on the wall become bedroom eyes. . . .
• • Source: Article: "Cadaqués, Spain: The land Salvador Dalí never forgot" written by Janet K. Keeler for The St. Petersburg Times; posted on 9 October, 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2078th 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:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • in 1935 • •
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