Friday, January 16, 2015

Mae West: Barbra's Mae

In her screen portrayal of Dolly Levi, Barbra Streisand was surely channeling MAE WEST, observed one critic.
• • "Barbra's Mae" • •
• • California critic Todd McCarthy wrote:  Much has been made of the fact that Barbra Streisand is much younger than any other actress to have played the obnoxious Dolly Levi and some have posed the question of how the vibrant Miss Streisand could be just coming out of mourning for her long lost husband and not have been to Harmonica Gardens for "years and years" without having been married in the area of age 10.
• • Todd McCarthy explained:  For me, any pleasure I received was derived from just such incongruities, for not only is Barbra an intriguingly young Dolly Levi, but in her characterization are to be found heavy traces of Mae West as well as strange mixtures of Jewish and Irish accents.
• • Todd McCarthy added:  In certain scenes Walter Matthau comes across as W.C. Fields to Barbra's Mae West but overall he exhibits insufficient charm . . .
• • Source: Review in Stanford Daily; published on Friday, 16 January 1970. 
• • When Barbra Met Mae in 1971 • •
• • Yes, the two performers really did meet, as recounted in the 2012 book "Streisand: Her Life."  The rendezvous was recalled by Tinseltown director Jerry Schatzberg. In 1971, Barbra was discussing with him the script for "Up the Sandbox," hoping he'd direct.
• • "We were at this party," Jerry Schatzberg remembered, "and Mae West was in the room. Barbra was all excited to see her and went over to talk to her. Everyone in our group was dying of curiosity about what these two Hollywood giants of their generations would say to each other. A few minutes later, Barbra came back, laughing. 

• • She said she had asked Mae West what she felt the difference was between the Hollywood of Mae's heyday and today. Mae gave her own of those  looks and in her inimitable way said, 'Well, honey, the biggest difference is, today there are no stars!'"
• • On Tuesday, 16 January 1934 • •
• • It was another appearance in court, this time as a witness for the prosecution — — on 16 January 1934 — — when Mae West gave testimony about Edward Friedman, who had robbed her. Extensive courtroom coverage appeared in the Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express under this headline: "Officers Guard Movie Queen at Trial after Threats by Gangsters" on 16 January 1934.
• • On Wednesday, 16 January 1935 • •
• • In the middle of January — — on 16 January 1935 — — Joseph Breen was shooting off another memo about Mae West. "'Now I'm a Lady' seems to us to be a definite violation of the Code," he wrote. Because of the Hays Code, the script would be altered numerous times and the movie re-titled.
• • On Monday, 16 January 1950 in Newsweek • •
• • Newsweek readers who opened their issue dated 16 January 1950 [Vol. XXXV, No. 3] saw this article on page 46: "The Return of Mae West."
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Stephen Papich, Hollywood choreographer of the 1950s, worked on stage with Mae West and Judy Garland. Papich had an uncredited minor role in "South Pacific" [1958].
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "I kid sex. I was born with sophistication and sex appeal. But I'm never vulgar, and I don't like obscenity.  I just suggest."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An Australian newspaper mentioned Mae West. Her photo was the only picture used.
• • "Mae West Disliked In Britain, George Arliss Popular" • •
• • British fllmgoers in 1934 liked George Arliss and Norma Shearer best; liked James Cagney and Mae West least.
• • This is revealed in the 4th questionnaire issued by Sidney Bernstein to the patrons of the 31 cinemas he controls throughout the country. Mr. Bernstein received answers from 124,837 film-goers.  . . .
• • Mae West has Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, and Joan Crawford as companions in unpopularity. The evergreen Janet Gaynor is the eighth most popular feminine star, but the twelfth most hated.  . . .
• • Source: Article in The Barrier Miner;  published on Wednesday, 16 January 1935 
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. Yesterday we entertained 1,430 visitors. 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3094th 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 1970

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