Mae West

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Mae West Costume - "Debbie Reynolds--The Auction Finale" VIP Reception; Auction conducted by www.ProfilesInHistory.com on May 17 & 18, 2014 at the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio - North Hollywood, California, United States - Thursday 15th May 2014

She Done Him Wrong Review


Good
Mae West's most famous line appears in She Done Him Wrong, where you can finally discover that she's been being misquoted now for 73 years. Poor gal. Did you know she wrote the bulk of the films she appeared in? Who knew under the sneer and the sass there was an author? As for the story here, adapted from her play Diamond Lil, it's pretty much a bust: Nightclub owner Lady Lou (West) is semi-stalked by an old boyfriend who's been in the pokey for a spell. It's all over in about an hour, which serves mainly as a platform for West to crack wise at every boy in the room, including Cary Grant, the recipient of her signature line.

Myra Breckinridge Review


Bad
The appropriate response to Myra Breckinridge is wide-eyed bafflement; anybody with anything resembling taste will recognize it as an awful movie within ten minutes. Released in 1970 and under practically Soviet-style repression until now, it is clumsily edited, horribly acted, and practically plotless. It is lascivious without being provocative, and it did damage to the public images of both Mae West and John Huston. No movie has worked harder to try one ironic gag after another and fail every single time; it is idiocy disguised as camp. Yet there's something transcendently misbegotten about Myra Breckinridge that makes it worth studying; the differences between the excellent book and a horrible movie has a few interesting things to say about Hollywood as it stumbled from the '60s into the '70s.

The film is based on Gore Vidal's bestselling 1968 novel, which gave us Myra as a magnificently over-the-top symbol of changing sexual mores, greed, revenge, Hollywood, and how they all intersect. In the hands of director Michael Sarne, the story became a messy sex farce; Vidal stepped away from the project, and for good reason. In the book, Myra romanticizes the great movies of the 1930s, arguing, in fact, that it was the best decade ever for movies. This inspires Sarne to raid the 20th Century Fox vault and cram in seemingly dozens of clips from Laurel & Hardy and Shirley Temple films, sometimes ironically, but mostly sitting there like a bad joke told at a dinner party. (It may be that Myra's sole usefulness is that it inspired a similar idea in the HBO TV series Dream On, actually done well.)

Continue reading: Myra Breckinridge Review

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