Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mae West: Eugène Brieux

The controversial scripts of MAE WEST were compared with the stage plays of the French writer Eugène Brieux,  who was born in Paris this month on Tuesday, 19 January 1858. 
• • His play "Les Avariés" (1901), or "Damaged Lives" in English, was banned by the censor, due to its medical details of syphilis; the drama was read privately by the author at the Théâtre Antoine. "Petite amie" (1902) describes the life of a Parisian shop-girl.
• • Martin Quigley, showing off his continental flair for a familiarity with "traveler's Italian," probably confused a few readers and lifted many eyebrows with this editorial.
• • Eugène Brieux [19 January 1858 — 6 December 1932] •
• • Martin Quigley, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Motion Picture Herald, wrote this:  Code Administration. Only stubborn, persistent pursuit of old purposes makes the censorship exponents see opportunity anew today.
• • Martin Quigley continued:  Even so intelligent an observer and commentator as Mr. Heywood Broun, who writes these days for the New York World Telegram, betrays some considerable misunderstanding of the viewpoint which officially controls the Production Code Administration and its relation to the Legion of Decency movement. For instance, discussing evasive trends of screen behavior, he remarks: "I doubt that Mae West is the last of her line. More subtle approaches are distinctly possible."
• • Martin Quigley observed:  It would seem that Mr. Heywood Broun assumes that It is inevitable that characters of the type portrayed so ably by Miss Mae West are now barred from the screen, in the course of the "clean-up."
• • Martin Quigley noted:  But in truth that is most contrary indeed to the alms and purposes of the movement. The adventurine [i.e., lucky] ladies that Miss West interprets are a proper part of drama and can and most likely will continue on the screen. Not locale and personnel, but rather their treatment, determines fitness. Eugene Brieux wrote a drama about syphilis and harlotry entitled "Damaged Goods" and there was a famous play about "Mrs. Warren's Profession," neither of which contained what could be construed as pornography.
• • Martin Quigley explained: There is, believe it or not, considerable difference between the play or picture which presents sex sins as a factor in life, and the play or picture which is in essence a bagnio [i.e., a bath house] travelogue.   That difference is the one which is now being impressed upon some of those creative minds of the picture making community.
• • Martin Quigley stated: The movement to achieve this is a normal and integral production activity, carried on at this time by a department of the industry created for the purpose, the Production Code Administration. It is not a step toward censorship, but most precisely one away from it.  ...
• • Source: Item in Motion Picture Herald; published on Saturday, 4 August 1934.
• • On Saturday, 20 January 1934 • •
• • Born on the Lower Eastside of New York in January — — on 31 January 1892 — — Eddie Cantor was an American comedian, singer, actor, songwriter, and one of the most popular entertainers in the USA in the early and middle 20th century.
• • On Saturday, 20 January 1934, Eddie Cantor was the M.C. during a stage show at the Paramount Theatre (Broadway and West 43rd Street). In one number, he appeared in a Mae West costume. Yes, this actually happened onstage, so try to imagine it.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • The Paramount ran nine shows of the Mae West picture, "Belle of the Nineties," last Saturday, which included a breakfast matinee starting at 9 and a midnight show opening at 11:30.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "There are no more loose morals in Hollywood. After what we've
been through, you'd be lucky to find a loose nickel."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Motion Picture Herald mentioned Mae West.
• • The Paramount articulated and motorized presentation of the oscillating hips of Miss Mae West, a contemporary masterpiece, may be mentioned In the same category. The motion picture can get into enough trouble without advertising for it.  . . .
• • Source: Item in Motion Picture Herald;  published on Saturday,  29 September 1934 
• • 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 1,430 visitors. 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3096th 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   in 1934

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