Mae West: Glamour Collection
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Smart, seductive and undeniably funny, Mae West is one of cinema's most enduring comedy legends. Now this larger-than-life buxom beauty charms fans all over again in an amazing 5-movie collection of some of her most wildly popular films.Revel in Mae's breakout performance in Night After Night; join her as a bewitching lion (and man) tamer in I'm No Angel; lasso up some fun with the wealthy and the wicked in the rags-to-riches tale of Goin' To Town; delight in a comic country romance in Go West Young Man; and see how wild the West can really get in My Little Chickadee. It's a must-own salute to one of Hollywood's most outrageous and hilarious leading ladies.
The triumph of personality is beautifully demonstrated in Mae West: The Glamour Collection, a bundle of five comedies featuring the never duplicated (if often imitated) Ms. West. Never altering her insouciant, sexed-up persona, Mae West sashays through these films like a tour guide in a well-lit bordello, cheerfully cracking herself up with a series of perfectly-timed one-liners. Since she wrote her own material, there was no separation between the lady (what a feeble word) and her scandalous dialogue.
If you doubt this, check out Night After Night, her film debut. The first half of the picture is an unremarkable gangster comedy: George Raft in his usual inert form, Constance Cummings the good girl, capable comic support from Roscoe Karns and Alison Skipworth. Then West blowses in, and it's all over. Within a minute she's tossed off an eternal signature line (hatcheck girl: "Goodness, what beautiful diamonds." West: "Goodness had nothin' to do with it, dearie") and disrupted the high-class aims of gangster Raft. The other actors look agog at this unapologetic force of libido. Watching this, you might recall the first time you ever saw Groucho Marx or Bill Murray on film--the movie itself disappears, replaced by gratitude that someone like this exists.
I'm No Angel followed her first starring vehicle (She Done Him Wrong, not included here), and its lunatic plot--Mae as a lion tamer taken up by New York society--does nothing to slow the barrage of sexual innuendo. West hums her way through the film with the kind of confidence that must have inspired countless fans to try something disreputable. Cary Grant is the bemused recipient of West's attention. Goin' to Town is nearly as good, as dance-hall gal Mae inherits an oil fortune, then sets her cap for the haughty Englishman working on her, uh, wells. West's style is undiminished (she was in her mid-forties already), although by this time the Production Code--concocted in part as a horrified response to her first films--was trimming her entendres.
Tamer still is the tongue-in-cheek Go West Young Man, although the spectacle of West (playing a "temperamental" movie star) leering after hunky Randolph Scott is pleasant. My Little Chickadee, made at Universal after her run at Paramount ended, is the legendary pairing with W.C. Fields. It's full of great bon mots from both drawlers, even if the sum is less than its parts. Disapproving Margaret Hamilton tells Fields of West, "I'm afraid I can't say anything good about her." Fields replies, "I can see what's good, tell me the rest." These five films are a good introduction to the rest. Beulah, peel me a grape. --Robert Horton
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Top Customer Reviews
The set includes 5 movies ranging from mediocre to great, "Night After Night" (1932)- in my opinion is the worst film of the bunch, "I'm No Angel" (1933) - is the funniest, "Goin' to Town" (1935) - is the most enjoyable, ""Go West, Young Man" (1936) - is mediocre West and "My Little Chickadee" (1940) - pairs West with the legendary W.C Fields.
"Night After Night" ** 1/2. This almost forgotten little film is a curiosity item because it is Mae West's screen debut. The film stars George Raft, who plays Joe, a former boxer and owner of a speakeasy who is interested in romancing an attractive and mysterious socialite, Miss Jerry Healy (Constance Cummings). Whatever one thinks of the film (I am not too enamoured with it as I find it a bit tedious to get through) there is no denying once West's Maudie Triplett enters the scene, she steals the show and despite her brief appearance here, delivers some of her classic dialogues ("Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie.") The scene in the hotel bedroom with West and Alison Skipworth dealing with a hangover and an innocent misunderstanding is a hoot. This film may have been a star vehicle for the other actors but Mae West managed to steal the spotlight off them and several decades later, this film is remembered mostly for her presence.
"I'm No Angel" ****. This film is one of West's best features and it contains some of her wittiest dialogue. West plays Tira, a circus performer who hits the big time as a lion tamer.Read more ›
By every account available, Fields and West absolutely loathed each other. After Field's death West went to considerable effort to belittle both Fields and his contribution to this film, insisting that she herself wrote the story and the script and Fields was responsible for his personal material only. Ironically, her claims re this are hardly flattering to her talent, for the great weakness of CHICKADEE is the actual story itself, which is remarkable for its lack of imagination: Flower Belle becomes mixed up with an outlaw and is run out of town--and told she can't return until she can prove she is respectably married. The opportunity to do precisely that arrives in the form Cuthbert J. Twillie, an inept con-man who becomes her dupe.
Although uninspired, the plot does have the benefit of allowing both West and Fields to do their own thing both separately and occasionally together--and when it works, it goes off with a bang. Their meeting on the train, their wedding night, and West's unlikely stint as a schoolmarm (teaching the young about figures, of course) are all hilarious bits, and Margaret Hamilton gets in some good moments in the supporting cast. The film only sinks whenever it returns to the storyline of West and her bandit lover--so all in all, although not the best, it is well worth a watch, particularly for Fields and West fans. Recommended, but don't expect too much.
Most recent customer reviews
I've got both volumes and the movies are some of the funniest I've seen. Get both volumes and see one of the greatest comedians.Published on May 6 2013 by Wayne J. Stirling
I consider WC Fields one of the funniest men that ever performed on the 'silver screen'. His comedy plays on the foibles of human nature without resorting to vulgarity, something... Read morePublished on Feb. 17 2009 by O.C. Goveia
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