Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Mae West: Lusty and Uninhibited

The headline read: MAE WEST Adds Glamor to the Strand Screen — — "She Done Him Wrong" Is Praised by New York Critics as a Grand Production." The talkie continued with a midnight show.
• • "Mae West is magnificent in this picture," writes Bland Johansson, critic of the New York Mirror, in reviewing "She Done Him Wrong," opening yesterday at the Strand and continuing midnight tonight, Monday and Tuesday.
• • His review follows in full: Mae West, "The Hottest Girl In Town," (including Saturday night) makes her debut as a screen star in this feverish adaptation of her famous "Diamond Lil." And It is, indeed, a picture. Bold, blowsey, lusty and uninhibited, it Is the greatest entertainment the good old Paramount has offered In seasons. A man's picture, it will restore grandpa's boyhood and age the sophomores.
• • "Superlatively sexy, typifyIng the meaty lure ..." • •
• • Miss West herself is the most colorful personality acquired by the talkies. Superlatively sexy, typifying the meaty lure of the brewery calendar, she sells her allure for laughs. Frankly low-down, she is able to be funny with It. Her honest forthright sexiness is wholesome and refreshing after our saturation with the sickly languor, the anaemia and gloom popularized by the foreign sirens.
• • Mae has a grand time playing "She Done Him Wrong," and you will share her fun in watching her. She appears as Lady Lou, blonde queen of the Bowery, who loves nothing but diamonds and boasts a whole cell block full of admirers, who have been captured gratifying her taste for them. Lady Lou sings "Frankie and Johnny," "My Easy-rlding Man," [sic] and "I Want a Man who Takes his Time," [sic] to divert the customers in a sawdust saloon. And in her spare time she dabbles in counterfeiting and white slavery. Lady Lou flourishes in her establishment until big, strong Cary Grant opens a mission opposite.
• • Mae conveys very clearly with one look at Cary that love has come to Lady Lou. And, as she herself says, "he can be had." Melodrama and murder enliven the action until the horse-drawn patrol wagon finally backs up for Lady Lou. Handcuffs are produced. "Oh, well," says Lady Lou, "hand's ain't everything."
• • Billy Sunday, the fire-and-thunder, anti-rum evangelist, demonstrates how he licked the demon to Mae West and Mrs. Sunday, on the bar-room set for Mae West's first slumming picture for Paramount, "She Done Him Wrong."
• • "She Done Him Wrong," a story of the New York Bowery, which Is at the Strand Theatre midnight tonight, was written by Miss West.
• • Source: Syndicated column rpt in Cumberland Sunday Times (page 7); published on Sunday, 5 March 1933.
• • On Monday, 5 March 1934 in The Hollywood Reporter • •
• • Their Monday, March 5, 1934 issue reported this: "It Ain't No Sin" (Rehearsing); Cast: Mae West, George Raft, Duke Ellington and Orchestra. Of course, Raft would be dropping out and would be replaced.
• • Their Monday, March 5, 1934 issue noted this item: Leo McCarey is searching for a Beef Trust chorus. Director wants a bulging line for the Mae West picture, "It Ain't No Sin." The headline for this item was "Beef Trust Wanted" and it ran in the 5 March 1934 issue in The Hollywood Reporter.
• • On Thursday, 5 March 1936 • •
• • The Associated Press broke the news first: MAE WEST QUITS STUDIO; She and Paramount Accuse Each Other of Breaking Contract.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Chester Beecroft bears the sorrowful distinction of having held an option on Mae West's picture services for three years and being unable to get his Florida backers to go through with the deal.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "I think upward. Unpleasant thoughts drag you down." 
• • Mae West said:  "Now I've studied my audience, and I know what they want me to do. I don't think people who don't write can really satisfy an audience unless they got writers who know exactly what an audience wants. My audiences are people who understand me and know what I'm going to say. I never had an audience that didn't react to everything I said and did."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Straits Times mentioned Mae West.
• • "I guess that's the real fun of it," says Mae West. "Of course I like diamonds. And who doesn't? I play with 'em like a kid with a set of bricks." Regarding her trove as an investment, Mae added, "Gold goes up and down. So does everything else. But there'll always be dames wanting diamonds and guys to buy them."
• • Source: The  Straits Times (Singapore); published during March 1937 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2863rd 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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• • Mae West in 1933

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