Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1934. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Mae West, based on her story It Ain’t No Sin. Cinematography by Karl Struss. Produced by William LeBaron. Music by Howard Jackson, John Leipold, Tom Satterfield. Production Design by Bernard Herzbrun. Costume Design by Travis Banton. Film Editing by LeRoy Stone.
Mae West writes herself another fantastic vehicle in this enjoyable musical drama, one that highlights all of her best qualities. She throws off her witty one-liners (“Your mother should have thrown you out and kept the stork!”), indulges in sexual innuendo (someone mentions that she knows the way to a man’s heart and she replies “Funny too, cause I can’t cook!”) and performs some great numbers (her delivery of “Troubled Waters” is a standout). The diverting plot centres around her as a night club singer of the late nineteenth century who shifts operations from St. Louis to New Orleans to get away from a mean, pugilist boyfriend. He shows up in town for another match, looks for her and they all get involved in a diamond-stealing operation. Great costumes and sets, but at the end of the day it’s Mae’s show all the way!