Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Mae West: A Man from Rio

MAE WEST relished her scenes with Pablo Juarez, casting her handsome friend Jack La Rue in the role as the torrid temptation from Rio de Janeiro, "the youngest of the toreadors."  Their publicity shots for the Royale Theatre are quite steamy.
• • Actress Darlene Violette said, "If you've never read Mae's novel and you have become used to the 66-minute motion picture, then you might not be aware of how much whitewashing Paramount Pictures did to the original melodrama written in 1928.  For example, Mae's version depicted an explicit and steamy seduction scene between Diamond Lil and Pablo Juarez, who is described as a black man from Rio."   
• • Photo of "Diamond Lil" onstage by Wayne Takenaka: actress Darlene Violette and actor Juan Sebastian Cortes
• • Other elements missing from the hour-long film are the sex slaves stowed in Charlie Fong's place on Mott Street; Rita's dead body being tossed in the river; Lil's sexual aggressiveness; and other inconveniently sinister plot points. What a story! What a delight it was to see Ms. Violette bring the role of the bawdy Queen of the Bowery to life in the New York City revival this year.
• • On Tuesday, 3 December 1935 • •
• • The Cornell Daily Sun, Volume 56, Number 59, 3 December 1935 ran an interesting article — "The Champ Meets a Notable." Illustrating the text was a photo of Mae West standing between two men: heavyweight champ Jim Braddock and his buddy Joe Zigg. It seems that Mae gave these handsome fellows a tour of Hollywood film studios.
• • On Friday, 3 December 1965 • •
• • "Day Tripper" is a song by The Beatles, released as a double A-side single with "We Can Work It Out" on Friday, 3 December 1965 in the U.K. Mae West covered this song on her 1966 album "Way Out West." Her album was re-released in 2008 on CD.
• • Mae West Trivia: Inside "Diamond Lil" • •
• • In 1928, when Mae wrote her 3-hour melodrama of the underworld, most of the publicity images featured Mae West and the actor cast as Chick Clark. This fictional character, a Chicago jewel thief and a former lover of Diamond Lil (who "done him wrong"), had almost as many lines of dialogue in the play as Mae West herself. As written, Chick Clark (played in 1928 by Broadway mainstay Herbert Duffy) was meant to be her co-star.
• • Mae gave Chick Clark an important monologue in each of the three acts. In contrast, Captain Cummings only has three brief scenes in the play.
• • It was not until 1932, in the sanitized 66-minute film version put together by Paramount Pictures, that the "righteous" figure of Captain Cummings would emerge as the leading male figure.  Obviously, the studio executives felt it best to minimize the roles of the sex trafficker and saloon owner Gus Jordan; the procurer from Rio, Pablo Juarez; and the escaped convict Chick Clark when they reshaped "She Done Him Wrong" for an American movie-goer.  So much for the boldness of the Pre-Code era, eh?
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Jack La Rue, who had a leading role as the suave South American lothario Pablo Juarez in Mae West's famous stage hit, "Diamond Lil," will make his first screen apperance with the star in "Go West Young Man." Emanuel Cohen, president of Major Pictures, is producing the new vehicle for Paramount release.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Strong coffee is my weakness. Occasionally I drive out for a spaghetti dinner at Jack LaRue's Italian restaurant. Or slip down to Los Angeles Chinatown for chicken chop suey."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The New Movie Magazine mentioned Mae West.
• • The editors wrote: Mae West had a pet monkey sent out from New York.
• • Source: "Hollywood Coo-Coos" in The New Movie Magazine; published in January 1933 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2801st 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/

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• • Photo:
• • Mae West revival of "Diamond Lil"

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