Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Mae West: One-glance Gal

A multitude of MAE WEST fans in Brisbane were getting ready to spend an entire week (during the end of September and early October) with her in their local cinema, the Tivoli, enjoying Mae's latest talking picture. Here's a critique of "My Little Chickadee" that prepared Australian movie-goers in the autumn of 1940.
• • "Mae West in Tale of Wild West — — Rousing Comedy Scenes" • •
• • Screen Review by Te Pana • •
• • The growing circle of comedy purists who would like to see slapstick retain its pristine glory on the screen have a worthy exhibit in 'My Little Chickadee,' at the Tivoli this week.
• • If I ask you — — What could be funnier than W. C. Fields as a patent medicine vendor turned masked bandit, and Mae West, late of the honky-tonks, as a little desert flower blooming brighter every hour? 
• • "This one-glance gal and two-shot son-of-a-gun" • •
• • A riotous 'team' they make, this one-glance gal and two-shot son-of-a-gun. Their adventures among the citizenry of Greasewood City, one of the wilder outposts of the West, are something in the nature of a parody and burlesque on the familiar fixtures of Western pictures, of which a Brisbane theatre manager remarked to me recently: "I've been screening so many 'horse-operas' lately that I'm afraid audiences will be suffering from cattle ticks." 
• • Nothing has been spared in the hulabaloo of ridicule. . . and the disorderly progress of W.C. Fields through the badlands is fit subject for the short, barking laugh (it goes 'Hah,' and is bitten off on that syllable) or the comfortable internal chuckle.
• • Fields is assisted in his hilarious duties by Mae West, who retains her old slinky ways, frank humour, free invitations, wise-cracks, and peculiar style that attracted the public in her first picture.
• • She is Flower Belle Lee, idol of the 'boys,' and the sight of the comedian battling to save himself from the alluring dangers of the beautiful West is the kind of screen material that will throw any audience into a panic.
• • Supporting is 'Double Alibi,' something new in murder mysteries.  ...
• • Source: Film Review by Te Pana for The Courier-Mail (Brisbane); published on Saturday, 28 September 1940.
• • On Wednesday, 1 October 1913 • •
• • The New York Morning Telegraph sent reviewers to cover the show at Proctor's Fifth Avenue when Mae West had one of the top spots. "She is not volcanic in style and manifests no inclination to whoop it up," remarked a critic in the N.Y. Morning Telegraph on Wednesday, 1 October 1913.
• • In an edition a few days later, The New York Clipper called her "one of the most vivacious soubrettes that has graced the vaudeville stage in many moons."  No doubt Mae had changed her act because she was now touring with headliner Guido Deiro.
• • On Monday, 1 October 1928 • •
• • Mae West's gay play "Pleasure Man" had a $200,000 box office advance when it premiered at the Biltmore on Monday, 1 October 1928. The police raided the show, however, and shut it down the same night.
• • On Tuesday, 1 October 1935 • •
• • In 1935, Paramount tried to re-release Mae West's two Pre-Code hits from 1933, "She Done Him Wrong" and "I'm No Angel." But Joe Breen had tightened the celluloid noose explaining, in a letter dated Tuesday, 1 October 1935, that these were "so completely in violation of the Code that it is utterly impossible for us to issue a certificate of approval."
• • On Friday, 1 October 1937 • •
• • On Friday, 1 October 1937, Paramount Pictures announced that the venerable restaurant and hotel owner George Rector [1878 — 1947] would be co-starring with Mae West in her latest motion picture "Every Day's a Holiday."
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Hollywood — Emanuel Cohen has definitely decided on "Go West Young Man" as the title of the new Mae West picture based on the stage play, "Personal Appearance," being filmed by Major Pictures for Paramount release.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "The box office business in the entire industry has dropped off 30 per cent in the past four months."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Nation discussed Mae West.
• • "In Defense of Mae West" • •
• • Written for The Nation by Joseph Wood Krutch [1893 — 1970] was a straightforward article on her special qualities as, yes, a dramatist.
• • The erudite columnist appreciated Mae's "personality" and, though he felt her current play was "simple-minded, lurid, and crude," he emphasized that it was better than many other plays "because it is at least not dull with that discouraging, anemic dullness characteristic of half the respectable plays produced on Broadway."   ...
• • Source: Article in The Nation; published on Wednesday, 30 September 1931
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. The other day we entertained 1,223 visitors. 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3016th 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 1940

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