Tag Archives: Mae West

She Done Him Wrong

Directed by Lowell Sherman
Produced by William LeBaron
Written by Mae West (play Diamond Lil)
Harvey F. Thew & John Bright
Starring Mae West
Cary Grant
Owen Moore
Gilbert Roland
Noah Beery
Music by John Leipold (uncredited)
Cinematography Charles Lang
Editing by Alexander Hall
Studio Paramount Pictures
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date January 27, 1933
Running time 66 min
Country United States

I’ve always wanted to see this film for a couple of reasons. Firstly I do like Mae West’s double entendres and one liners and secondly we get to see a young Cary Grant. Here he is the one who is being lusted after by West, which is strange since in years to come it would be Grant who was the older man lusting after and getting the younger woman. It’s odd to see the roles reversed.

Whilst I admit that I enjoy West’s wit I must also admit that she is a bit of a one trick pony in that he sly one liners are the only things she can really do. Worse still she hogs the spotlight so that nothing of interest occurs when she is on the screen.

When compared to other comedians of the 1930s West’s act isn’t as interesting. W. C. Fields, who West is often compared with, had some amazing one liners in his films too but he also was pretty good with the slapstick stuff and could share the spotlight with others who were funny too, while Groucho Marx had his brothers to play off, even if we had to endure a boring Harpo harp recital or Chico putting the audience to sleep with his piano playing. West too insists on showing off her non-comedic talent when she decides to sing… and it is excruciating. Unlike when Groucho sings West is serious and is not doing it for laughs so it makes it even more intolerable. I guess that Mae wanted to sing and no one had the guts to say no?!

The film is interesting and does feature Mae reciting he most well known line to Grant, “Why don’t you come up sometime and see me?”, but the film could have been better in my opinion.

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My Little Chickadee

Directed by Edward F. Cline
Produced by Lester Cowan
Written by Mae West & W.C.Fields
Starring Mae West
W.C.Fields
Music by Frank Skinner
Cinematography Joseph A. Valentine
Editing by Edward Curtiss
Distributed by Universal
Release date 15 March 1940
Running time 83 min
Country USA
Language English

W. C. Fields and Mae West were two of the sharpest tongues in Hollywood with only Groucho Marx rivalling them for delivering the best one liners and double entendres. Whilst they do get a few great zingers into My Chickadee and there are a few laugh out loud moments, this film feels a bit odd. I think it’s because of the lack of chemistry between Fields and West. Whilst there are rumours of both the stars not liking each other and that they let their egos run rampant, trying to one up each other with the best lines, I don’t think any of this has been truly confirmed. I did read that Mae was a bit unhappy with Fields’ unprofessionalism and how he lived his drunken gimmick, but she still admired his comic abilities.

The film isn’t Fields’ or West’s best but it’s still a damn sight better than most other comedies.
My Little Chickadee is a part of the W.C. Fields Comedy Collection with The Bank Dick, You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man, International House and It’s A Gift. This DVD box set is available from Amazon for $46.99. You can purchase it by clicking here…