On Sunday, 2 May 1982, the MAE WEST bio-pic received a carefully considered review by John J. O'Connor in The New York Times. This is Part 2.
• • TV View: "Ann Jillian Delivers a Fresh Portrait of Mae West" • •
• • John J. O'Connor wrote: In the process, the woman behind the public image emerges as a trailblazing feminist and a brave denouncer of censorship. Her detractors, however, are offered a measure of comfort in the depiction of her private love life as a mess. The wicked, presumably, will still be punished.
• • Going back to around 1900, the film spans nearly five decades in a rather awkward fashion. Miss West, played by Ann Jillian, is first seen in 1927 as the New York police are raiding a performance of ''Sex,'' a Broadway play she had written as a vehicle for herself. ''Mae, I'm afraid you'll have to come with me,'' says one of the arresting officers. ''What's there to be afraid of, honey?'' purrs Mae, showing a sudden spark of flirtatiousness. As she prepares for the subsequent trial, Mae looks in a mirror and the scene returns to her childhood. Seven-year-old Mae watches her crude father bully her long-suffering mother, who is determined that her daughter have a stage career. The impudent tot makes her vaudeville debut giving explicit directions about how the spotlight should be kept on her at all times.
• • "Mama warns that it's a man's world" • •
• • Papa is not especially enthusiastic about Mae's theatrical aspirations, and when, several years later, he discovers her necking with a young man on the family sofa, he explodes in anger. But Mama, played with saintly reserve by Piper Laurie, insists, explaining that Mae is ''different.'' In private, Mama warns that it's a man's world. Mae says, ''I hate it, Mama, . . .
• • This was Part 2. Tomorrow you can read Part 3.
• • Source: TV Review by John J. O'Connor for The N.Y. Times; published on Sunday, 2 May 1982.
• • On Tuesday, 4 May 1886 • •
• • On Tuesday, 4 May 1886 the black composer Shelton Brooks was born. Mae and Beverly performed his dance novelty "Walking the Dog" when they toured with their act "Mae West and Sister." In her 1928 Bowery melodrama "Diamond Lil," Mae performed his jaunty song "Where Has My Easy Rider Gone?" and this jaunty toe-tapping number would be reprised in "She Done Him Wrong" [filmed in 1932].
• • On Saturday, 4 May 1935 • •
• • A Los Angeles Times columnist noted on Saturday, 4 May 1935, that the news about Mae West's secret marriage to Frank Wallace had "chased Hitler, the NRA, and the quintuplets off the front page of every newspaper in America for two weeks."
• • On Sunday, 4 May 1969 • •
• • Reporter Whitney Bolton wrote an article, a first person remembrance: "Critic Impressed by Mae West Role of Siren at Seance." Bolton had attended one of Mae's backstage seances and his piece was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer in its weekend edition on Sunday, 4 May 1969.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Paramount is saying that the sentence, "Come up 'n' see me some- time" — is driving the whole world mad.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "They don't have any shame! You'll never catch me in pants. I take that fashion as a personal insult!"
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A fan magazine mentioned Mae West.
• • "News and Gossip of the Studios" • •
• • Young John Cabot Lodge, the blueblood Boston lawyer who gave up his career to become a movie actor when the studios spied his Gable-ish good looks during a visit to Hollywood, may not play opposite Mae West, after all.
• • Still, the studio is reluctant to abandon "Honky Tonk" with the two of them in the cast. The contrast between their backgrounds would make such good publicity stuff, they feel. . . .
• • Source: Motion Picture; issue dated for February 1933
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 11th anniversary • •
• • Thank
you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these
past eleven years. The other day we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we
reached a milestone recently when we completed 3,400 blog posts. Wow!
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3434th
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/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • in 1933 • •
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