She Done Him Wrong (1933)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Starring: Mae West (My Little Chickadee), Cary Grant (My Favorite Wife; North By Northwest)
Directed By: Lowell Sherman
Overview: This is the story of Lady Lou, nightclub owner and diamond lover. Besides the usual problems, one of her scores of lovers vows to break out of jail and kill her, if ever he finds out she's been doin' him wrong.
Acting: This was one of Mae West's first films. I think she skinnied up for her later stuff, but as far as 'classic voluptuous beauty' is concerned, there was a lot of awkward posing and primping. I also read that this was the movie that made Cary Grant famous. Search me, no idea why. What the hell is up with 1933?
Cinematography: There's a bar, a stage, a jail scene, and Mae's room. Some guys in costumes, and some women in really elaborate outfits. Oh and there was that scene at the end when there's a carriage! Once there was a time when all you needed was a set and an audience. Lars Von Trier pulled it off with Dogville, but the last time that stories didn't need interesting sets was when cinema hadn't been invented yet. What makes anyone think all a movie needs is a camera pointing at a person?
Script: "Listen. When women go wrong, men go right after them!"
Granted, Mae did a lot for the industry, namely making people design a censorship board because her writing was so racy and suggestive that they had to pull the reins on her. I was expecting far more witty quips and one liners, maybe even some fresh ideas. Instead I get four crappy songs and one memorable quote.
Plot: The story is a thin 3 acts, but that's ok, they poke holes in it to stretch the taffy-like plot out even more. Remember the old movies when one scene is all it took a guy to propose? Today that would be ridiculous, but we really understood that there was gushing love flying around and hitting people all over when that scene was on. This ends the same way, except without any spark or the slightest indication that there was any potential at interest, let alone love. Oh I get it, you wrapped up the story to have an ending. Ah... ok.
Mood: It's funny, looking at the black servant lady and realizing she's inferior. Dump on her, that's amusing! Laugh along now. The other funny thing is looking at a chunky white lady with as much jewelry as Mr T. and thinking that it's cool as she walks around like a penguin with her too-high heels and a corset squashing the life out of her. In all fairness though, nothing beats filling time with a song or four... just to make sure the length is enough to call 'feature'.
Overall Rating: 34% (Done ME Wrong!)
Aftertaste: Thanks God it was short. In all fairness I didn't think that this was a movie that needed stopping. Most that sit under 35% are complete chores to endure. The whole time I was wondering when the crop duster was going to come swooping in and gas everyone...
If you didn't get that, you need to see more Hitchcock.