Monday, July 04, 2016

Mae West: Nurtured in the Raw

The June 1935 issue of Photoplay featured a lengthy fantasy feature on MAE WEST with charming illustrations by Frank Godwin.  This is the fifth installment, Part 5.
• • "Mae West Can Play Anything" written by Leo McCarey • •
• • Leo McCarey wrote:  I should like to see Mae West play the [Stella Dallas] role, if only to demonstrate her latent versatility as an actress. 
• • Go West • •
• • Leo McCarey continued:   Suppose Mae were to go West? No pun intended, as "West" is a geographical location in this instance. One of the finest roles in all fiction awaits her. A great woman, nurtured in the raw of the man-made Western pioneer world. A stern-fibered give-and-take girl who was much finer than most of her sheltered sisters.
• • I give you Mae West as Cherry Malotte in  "The Spoilers."
• • In the Rex Beach epic of the Alaskan gold rush days, Mae could go dramatic to the hilt. A touch of rollicking Westian humor here and there, but essentially tragic and bitter.
• • Can you picture, as I can, Mae as the faro dealer taking the boys? Or, playing a losing game for the hero's love with that gay "you can be had" attitude?
• • What else could she play? Well, how about that swell little person whose kindly, lovable nature captivated Charles the First quite as much as her lure as an actress and her sex appeal?
• • Nell Gwyn • •
• • I'd give a lot of salary for the opportunity to direct Mae in this gay and romantic (but tragic)  bit of history. Mae could contribute a characterization as rich and racy, laughable and human as was Charles Laughton's Henry the Eighth.
• • Unlike many of our outstanding screen personalities, Mae West will never be limited.
• • Mae West can play anything, and many surprising things well. She has terrific personal appeal on the screen. Women like her as well as men. Mae understands the psychology of her own sex. She never takes a good woman's man away from her.  Never says "Come up and see me some time" to the wrong guy.    . . .
• • This has been Part 5. And Part 6 will continue on Tuesday.
• • Source: Article "Mae West Can Play Anything" for Photoplay Magazine; published in the June 1935 issue.
• • On Saturday, 4 July 1970 • •
• • While the motion picture "Myra Breckinridge" was not a hit, the media exposure engendered a "Mae West revival," explained The New York Post on Saturday, 4 July 1970.  Guess they must have attended the premiere and watched as 10,000 fans swarmed the streets outside the theatre, screaming for Mae West (and ignoring Raquel what's-her-name).
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Affable New York night club insider Earl Wilson attended the red carpet debut of "Myra Breckinridge" and was happy to see the throng of Mae mavens.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "Boris Petroff, former stage producer, is my dramatic adviser, while Murray Fiel and Murray Ellman — — with Mr. Jim Timony — — comprise what amounts to a business board of directors."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • New York Magazine mentioned Mae West.
• • James Abbe: Movie stars of the 1920s including portraits of Lillian Gish, Pavlova, Valentino, Mae West, others, thru June 6. Washburn Gallery, 820 Madison Avenue.
• • Source: Item in New York Magazine; issue dated for Monday, 9 June 1975
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 12th anniversary • •
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these past twelve 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 twelve years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 3478th 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 • with Leo McCarey, 1934

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1 comment:

  1. A pal of mine living in Brooklyn, made it to the outside of the theatre just as Mae West's limo pulled up to the curb. He still can recall the mile wide smile on Mae's face as she was gingerly plucked from the back seat of the block long Caddy and gently lifted by her elbows through the throng closing in to catch a glimpse of the beloved blonde bombshell making her film comeback.