Friday, January 22, 2010

74. She Done Him Wrong (1933)

Running Time: 64 minutes
Directed By: Lowell Sherman
Written By: Mae West, Harry Thew, John Bright, from the play "Diamond Lil" by Mae West
Main Cast: Mae West, Cary Grant, Noah Beery Sr., David Landau, Owen Moore


With the musicals behind us, we move onward and get an adaptation of Mae West's stage show "Diamond Lil", in the form of "She Done Him Wrong", which includes a young Cary Grant, an unforgettable performace from West, yet still just average in all other aspects.

Mae West plays Lady Lou, a singer in a saloon, owned by her boyfriend and benefactor, Gus Jordan. Lou is a lady who loved diamonds and loves men and doesn't hide either of those facts, often inviting men up to her room, unbeknownst to Gus. When a young girl tries to commit suicide in the bathroom of Gus' place, she is stopped and tended to by Lou, and later when she's handed off to Gus for safekeeping, he and his two nefarious associates send her to work, seemingly as a prostitute, although this is never said, only hinted at.

Meanwhile, Lou's former lover Chick Clark is in the big house, and while Lou promised to wait for him on the outside, she's certainly done less than that. When the saloon bodyguard/bouncer convinces her to go and visit Clark, she abides and when she does, he tells her that if he ever finds out she's fooling around on him, he won't hesitate to murder her. She informs him that everything is just peachy and leaves him to the rest of his sentence. Clark snaps once he sees Lou and can't stand the bars that he's stuck behind any longer, and eventually escapes from jail and heads straight for Lou.

Also in the meanwhile, Cary Grant is playing Captain Cummings, the operator of the local mission, which is housed next door to the saloon, and our heroine, Lady Lou has eyes for him. He visits from time to time, but shows no interest in Lou, as he seems to have other things up his sleeve. When his mission is in danger of being closed, due to lack of rent payment, Lou foots the bill behind Cummings' back, so that he won't be forced to relocate. With all of these combustible elements in play, you'd think we'd be in line for a raging climax, when really, it's not all that raging and in my opinion, fails to impress.

First of all, before I get into the bad, let me talk about the good and the good can be summed up in two words: Mae West! She was an absolute seductress on the screen and her performance is one that I won't soon forget. She even had me wrapped up in her spell at times and she really knew how to bring on the sexy and the sultry. While we're on the subject of performances, Cary Grant's wasn't too bad either, but I've certainly seen better Grant flicks and I'd call his performance somewhere right around in the average neighborhood. The bad, is really something that I can't 100% put my finger on, there just, to me, wasn't a whole lot going on, despite how my review makes it sound. Yes, there were a lot of side plots and storylines, but they were really small potatoes and really didn't have enough "oomph" to keep me interested. I'll chalk this one up as something that I'm really glad I saw, as otherwise I wouldn't have been exposed to the great Mae West.

RATING: 4.5/10 Mae West's performance gets a '10', but averaged in with everything else, it comes out to about a '4.5'.

NEXT UP: Duck Soup...I have really high hopes for my first ever Marx Brothers movie, which should be watched and reviewed before night's end.

January 22, 2010 4:53pm

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