Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mae West: Satirizes Sex

The June 1935 issue of Photoplay featured a lengthy fantasy feature on MAE WEST with charming illustrations by Frank Godwin.  This is the second installment, Part 2.
• • "Mae West Can Play Anything" written by Leo McCarey • •
• • Leo McCarey wrote:  It was "actress"! 
• • Leo McCarey continued:  There is none of the poseur in Mae West.  She is so genuine in her work that she breathes life into characters that would be flamboyantly artificial in the hands of lesser players.  For example, Jeanne Eagels was the only actress who succeeded in making Sadie Thompson a believable, sympathetic character.
• • In her characterizations that we know so well in pictures today, Mae West is the soul of rhythm. Neither her seductive walk, her knowing, alluring wink, nor her languorous drawl are studied poses. I have seen several clever girls attempt to imitate Mae, but they always fail to even touch the real thing. Their Westian poses are jerky and unconvincing. In other words, the lure is lost.
• • Like our other few real actresses, Mae believes in what she is doing. She understands the necessity of rhythm and relaxation in acting. She reminds me of a "sleeping" leopard, completely relaxed, yet with all her senses fully alert for the big moment. To watch Mae play even an unimportant scene say, strolling nonchalantly across a set, stopping to light a cigarette for a man, is to watch the epitome of grace. But, to watch her really turn on the heat and "GIVE" — — I'll leave the effect on your system to your own fertile imagination.
• • I wonder how many people realize that Mae West satirizes sex? She has made our old- fashioned vampires, those mysterious, pallid, emaciated, smoky-eyed females appear as futile as they usually are in real life.  Her robust, lusty humor would do much towards humanizing several traditional characters.
• • Leo McCarey added: Mae West has always wanted to do a version of the (biblical figure) Queen of Sheba.  . . .
• • This has been Part 2. And Part 3 continues tomorrow.
• • Source: Article "Mae West Can Play Anything" for Photoplay Magazine; published in the June 1935 issue.
• • On Friday, 29 June 1934 • •
• • Mae heard more than enough objections about "It's No Sin" from Joe Breen, Catholic priests, and the censors in New York State.  "If they think it's too warm, I'll cool it off," Mae told a Newsweek reporter.  On Friday, 29 June 1934 an article appeared in The Los Angeles Herald.  Mae assured reporters she aimed to satisfy the Hays Office. 
• • On Saturday, 29 June 1935 • •
• • Paramount liaison John Hammell wrote diplomatic letters to Will Hays but his skills were sorely tested by the "Klondike Annie" project.  One of Hammell's soothing missives (dated for 29 June 1935) explained:  "The ending of our story will be a romance between Mae West and one of the characters in our picture, and it will indicate for the future a normal life and nothing that will bring condemnation from the most scrupulous."
• • On Tuesday, 29 June 1937 • •
• • Mae West was doing her part in Singapore to keep an English-speaking audience entertained on Tuesday, 29 June 1937.
• • Singapore-based readers of The Straits Times on Tuesday, 29 June 1937, saw this announcement on page 5: "Don't Come Up and See Me Sometime! COME UP AND SEE ME TONIGHT!"
• • Mae West stars in "Go West Young Man" — — with Warren William and Lyle Talbot at the Pavilion Theatre — — 2 showtimes 6:15 pm and 9:15 pm.  Snappy and saucy and crammed with laughs. And a seductive headshot of Mae was sublime.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • "Belle of the Nineties" — Mae West, the lureful lady with the sense of humor, again puts on bustles and an amusing show — a sketch of the life of a burlesque queen in the New Orleans of the 1890s (Paramount).
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:   "You can never say I refused to meet somebody half way."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Earl Wilson mentioned Mae West.
• • "Mae West Makes a Comeback" • •
• • New York columnist Earl Wilson wrote:   I was one of Mae West's escorts at the riotous window-busting "Myra Breckenridge" premiere when she made the greatest comeback in history and won't forget when about ten of us peered out of her limousine  . . .
• • Source: Item from Earl Wilson's syndicated column; published on Monday, 29 June 1970
• • 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 eleven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3475th 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:


• • Photo:
• • Mae West • in 1935

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