Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mae West: Bowery Beer Hall

MAE WEST of "Diamond Lil” stage fame, brings her first starring film, "She Done Him Wrong," to the Orpheum theatre today for a two-day return showing.
• • Mae West, whose legitimate production, "Diamond Lil" made even blase New York audiences blush, comes to the Orpheum theatre today to play through Tuesday. In her first starring film vehicle called "She Done Him Wrong," based on her stage play, "Diamond Lil," Miss West scores a distinct hit. The film is playing a return engagement.
• • Get a load of the plot. Lady Lou (played by Miss West) is the star performer in a notorious Bowery beer hall of the 1890s. She has developed a craving for diamonds and the gentlemen who can get them for her. It seems that the district bosses, dandies, saloon owners, and others of the Bowery's elite supply the rocks. They steal diamonds to slip on her lovely fingers, and otherwise decorate her.
• • Lady Lou even exercises her sensual charms on a leader of a district mission, Captain Cummings. Some of the torrid lines and wisecracks of the film have become notorious. Most prominent of these is the line, "I always knew you could be had," muttered by Lady Lou as she slips into Captain Cummings' arms in a fade-out embrace. Romantic.
• • Source: Article on page 17 in Waco Tribune-Herald; published on Sunday, 28 May 1933.
• • On Monday, 28 May 1934 • •
• • The Australian audience embraced "the new star" in their midst when their movie-houses showed "She Done Him Wrong" down under. But their local critics did not have the same reaction to "I'm No Angel."
• • On Monday, 28 May 1934, a lengthy article in The Argus emphasized that the second comedy "shows Mae West as a type rather than an actress."  The Argus found other faults but we'll only mention their viewpoint on this: "In her first film she had a good story and the support of a brilliant cast.  In 'I'm No Angel' she has an ordinary story and a commonplace cast.  Her own part is much the same as it was in 'She Done Him Wrong,' but the setting is very different.  . . ."  [Source: The Argus, on page 5, 28 May 1934.]
• • Nevertheless, the film did good box office and Mae's stock rose even higher in Tinseltown after two successes in the States, What's your opinion? Which Mae West film is your favorite? 
• • On Tuesday, 28 May 1935 • •
• • The Straits Times in Singapore carried this headline: "Mae West Marriage Claim — —   Come Up and See My Lawyer Some Time."  Uh-oh. Trouble brewing.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • She said, with some show of annoyance that she had never married Mr. Frank Wallace nor any other man for that matter. And to show that she meant it, she refused to show herself in the streets of the film city for months afterwards. Which goes to show that the cinema queen is a woman of some modesty.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I'm often asked why I like to play seductive females. It's because virtue has its own reward, but has no sale at the box office."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An Australian publication discussed Mae West.
• • The Capitol: "From West to West" • •
• • "She Is No Angel Now" • •
• • Picture-goers who were delighted with Mae West in "She Done Him Wrong" may not be so pleased with her in "I'm No Angel." Flattered by the mild sensation which she caused in her film of the nineties, Mae West has fallen into one of those traps for young players which an old player should avoid.  ...
• • Source: Article in The Argus (Melbourne, Australia); published on Monday, 28 May 1934
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2923rd 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:

Source: to Google

• • Photo:
• • Mae West in "Diamond Lil" in 1928

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