Mae West: The Glamour Collection [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Synopsis

My Little Chickadee
Goin' to Town
Mae West is Goin' to Town in this elegant post-Production Code vehicle. West plays Cleo Borden, a nouveau riche cattle rancher who hopes to crash into high society. Though she is willing to subject herself to "refinement" lessons, she still has a high old time puncturing the pretensions of those around her: when aristocratic Ivan Valadov (Ivan Lebedeff) haughtily announces that he is the backbone of his family, West gives him the once-over and replies "Then your family'd better see a chiropractor." Through the connections of her husband-by-convenience Fletcher Colton (Monroe Owsley), Cleo is able to move freely among the glitterati of Southhampton but is forced to rely on her tried-and-true "street smarts" when she crosses swords with haughty villainess Grace Brittony (Marjorie Gateson) at a Buenos Aires race track. Through it all, aristocratic British engineer Edward Carrington (Paul Cavanaugh) awaits the opportunity to claim Cleo for his own -- as if anyone could ever "own" our fiercely self-reliant heroine. The film's highlight is a society operatic gala, in which Mae West delivers a serious (and most effective) rendition of "My Heart at Thy Still Voice" from Samson and Delilah. In a more characteristic vein, the star gets down and dirty (well, at least semi-dirty) with "He's a Bad Bad Man, But He's Good Enough for Me." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

I'm No Angel
Mae West's second starring vehicle, I'm No Angel casts the divine Miss West as the star performer in a seedy circus. Though she lives with Ralf Harolde, West allows herself plenty of time for other men. When Harolde runs afoul of the law, West secures extra money by becoming a lion tamer. While thus employed, West is "discovered" by playboy Kent Taylor; she willingly accepts his gifts and other favors, but she only has eyes for Taylor's cousin Cary Grant. Still, love takes second place to commerce in West's life, and she ends up suing Grant for breach of promise. When Grant allows her to win the case, she realizes she's truly in love with him after all. By rights, I'm No Angel should have been as big and bawdy a success as West's earlier She Done Him Wrong, but by late 1933 the censors were beginning to have their way with Hollywood. Several of the more ribald (and more hilarious) elements of the film were toned down--not least of which was the title, which was supposed to have been It Ain't No Sin. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Night After Night
In one of his first starring roles, George Raft plays Joe Anton, a tough but basically decent speakeasy owner who falls in love with Park Avenue socialite Miss Healy (Constance Cummings). Hoping to come up to the girl's social level, Joe starts taking lessons in speech and behavior from haughty dowager Mrs. Jellyman (Alison Skipworth). What he doesn't know is that Miss Healy pays attention to him only because he's living in the posh apartment where her family had resided before the Stock Market crash. Even so, the girl genuine falls in love with Joe when it appears as though he's about to desert her in favor of his ex-flame Iris Dawn (Wynne Gibson). A dreary retread of stock movie-drama themes, Night After Night would be utterly forgotten today were it not for the presence of Mae West, making her film debut. A scant few seconds after her first appearance, the generously bejeweled West is accosted by a hatcheck girl who coos "Goodness, what lovely diamonds." Swivelling those famous hips, La West replies expansively "Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie." Commenting years later on Night After Night, George Raft, who suggested that Mae West be cast in the film, ruefully recalled "She stole everything but the cameras." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Go West, Young Man
Go West, Young Man represented the first time that Mae West starred in a film not originally written with her in mind. Based on Lawrence Riley's stage comedy Personal Appearance (which starred Gladys George on Broadway), the film casts La West as Mavis Alden, a pretentious and somewhat stupid movie star who is shipped out on a nationwide promotional tour of her latest picture, Drifting Lady. Stranded in a backwater Pennsylvania town, she finds time for a chaste romance with local gas-station attendant Bud (Randolph Scott). Her enthusiastic press agent tries to stage-manage a wedding between the two casual lovers, whereupon West wriggles out of the commitment by renouncing Scott -- repeating the flowery dialogue from her newest cinematic masterpiece. Mae West is moderately amusing in an uncharacteristic assignment, but one wonders what the results would have been if Paramount had allowed her to star in her first choice of assignments: A satirical biography of Catherine the Great. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Mae West
    Mae West - Flower Belle Lee
  • W.C. Fields
    W.C. Fields - Cuthbert J. Twillie
  • Joseph Calleia
    Joseph Calleia - Masked Bandit
  • Dick Foran
    Dick Foran - Wayne Carter
  • Ruth Donnelly
    Ruth Donnelly - Aunt Lou

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