Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1933. Paramount Pictures. Story, Screenplay and Dialogue by Mae West, with suggestions by Lowell Brentano. Cinematography by Leo Tover. Produced by William LeBaron. Music by Herman Hand, Howard Jackson, Rudolph G. Kopp, John Leipold, Heinz Roemheld. Production Design by Hans Dreier, Bernard Herzbrun. Costume Design by Travis Banton. Film Editing by Otho Lovering.
Mae West made her starring debut in this wisecracking comedy that she also scripted (as she did most of her films). She plays a lion tamer with a penchant for making the men roar loader than the wildcats, plying her trade in a circus until a wealthy, engaged gentleman makes her his mistress. She breaks it off with him to enjoy a romance with his even richer playboy pal (Cary Grant) and finds herself genuinely falling in love. Unfortunately, shady old friends set her up to fail and she soon finds herself suing Grant in court for breach of promise after he breaks off their engagement. The courtroom scenes, where West defends her colourful past as only this brilliant woman could, are hysterically funny and subversive, while the rest of it is a great showcase for the great lady’s witty one-liners (this is the film that originated the famous “peel me a grape”) and revolutionary sex appeal. Why don’t you come up and see her sometime?