- Marvelous Mae 8/28/2005 12:00:00 AM by blanche-2
It's really a privilege to be able to see an icon like Mae West on film. This early talkie is Mae at her best - precode, dripping in diamonds and one-liners. It's a shame that later in life, she became a parody of herself. She was an important figure not only in theater but in early film.
Mae was not only a talented performer, she was a gifted writer and knew how to showcase herself. Though "She Done Him Wrong" is light on plot, it's heavy on Mae, and frankly, who cares about anything else? She's Lady Lou, a bawdy singer, with her hourglass figure shown to great advantage in a variety of gowns. All men want her - and let's face it, many men have had her! When she visits her ex-boyfriend in jail, she knows ever other con in the place.
This is a fascinating movie on so many levels. Besides Mae and her precode innuendos, it has Cary Grant's star-making performance (though Grant always disliked West's claim that she discovered him). It's the film that saved Paramount from bankruptcy. It's one of the films that brought on the code. Most interesting to me is, the audiences loved it! These audiences would very soon (like the next year) be deprived of the sexual double entendre and morality found in this film. Rather than the early audiences being naive and unsophisticated, it was the banning of certain language and situations in film that gave rise to the idea of a false world: that once, there were no shades of gray, all unmarried women were virgins, the bad guy always lost, and no bad deed goes unpunished.
"She Done Him Wrong" is a great chance to see a very young and handsome Gilbert Roland and Noah Berry Sr. (whose son really resembled him) in early film roles.
An amazing artifact, some hilarious lines, and most of all - Mae.
- The incomparable Mae West at her finest 5/11/2001 12:00:00 AM by FlickJunkie-2
Mae West was a veteran of burlesque, vaudeville and the Broadway stage by the time she made her first film in 1932 at the age of 39. `She Done Him Wrong' was her second film and her first starring role in an adaptation of her smash Broadway hit `Diamond Lil'. It was a play that West had written herself and it played to packed houses on Broadway for years. This film was nominated for an Academy Award for best picture and made Cary Grant into an instant star. Mae went on to write nine of the fourteen screenplays for films in which she was to star. Thus, all those great quotes we've heard that are attributed to her were not only said by her, but written by her as well. By 1935, she was the most highly paid woman in America. To this day, she remains one of the female stars most often imitated by female impersonators.
This film is among her best. It is full of the bawdy double entendre that became her trademark. She was the queen of sexual innuendo and suggestive dialogue and many of her lines have become part of Americana (e.g. `Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?' And, `A hard man is good to find.' And of course, `Come up and see me sometime.')
The plot of this film is simplistic and it is clearly a vehicle for her enormous talent, leading up to the now famous proposal by Cary Grant at the end of the film. Mae commands every frame of the film with her incomparable combination of sex appeal and ribald humor. Her sense of comic timing is impeccable making the funny lines she writes that much more hilarious by the snide way in which she delivers them.
Before this film, Cary Grant had appeared in half a dozen films and was building a reputation as a solid actor. However, none of his early films gave him the exposure that this film did due to its wild popularity at the time. West handpicked him for the part saying that he combined virility with the bearing of a gentleman. She wanted someone who would epitomize the now famous line, `Hello, warm, dark and handsome.' Though his role in this film is minor compared to West's, it made him a household name and a bankable star.
This classic film is a piece of film history that shouldn't be missed. I rated it a 10/10. It is among Mae West's best moments. I highly recommend it.
- A Bowery Bruiser With A Sharp Comic Edge 5/14/2005 12:00:00 AM by gftbiloxi
Mae West had a Broadway smash when she penned the bawdy tale of DIAMOND LIL for herself--and with a few tweaks here and there the story came to the screen as SHE DONE HIM WRONG. The film was an immediate hit and the role of Lady Lou remains one of West's best remembered performances. The script is jam-packed with some of West's most famous lines, including the memorable "Come up'n see me sometime. I'm home every evenin'" and "You can be had." West throws her lines with style, aplomb, enough innuendo to make a censor cringe, and considerable humor--but, somewhat surprisingly, the movie is not really a comedy.
SHE DONE HIM WRONG is a hard-knocks tale of Bowery bruisers who dance attendance upon the 'Lady Lou' and often resort to crime to keep her dripping in the diamonds she prizes above all else. But although she has one lover already locked up in jail, another one mixed up in the white slavery rackets, and still a third waiting to step into the gap, the Lady Lou is more interested in seducing missionary Cary Grant... only to find him less interested in her body than her soul, a circumstance that prompts West to utter one of the most how-did-that-get-past-the-censors lines in 1930s cinema: "Maybe I ain't got no soul." This is a surprisingly tough little movie, and in addition to West's zinging lines and occasional musical numbers SHE DONE HIM WRONG also offers a glimpse at a very young (and still slightly wooden) Cary Grant; it also has an ensemble cast that plays in a very enjoyable grand manner, truly first rate production values all the way, and A surprisingly brisk running time. West did funnier films than this, but the mix of her sharp wit and the rough story is particularly memorable. This is where the fire started really started, and I recommend it very strongly.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
- She Done EVERYTHING RIGHT! 9/11/2004 12:00:00 AM by planet9
Well here it is?legendary blonde-bombshell Mae West's smash hit screen version of her smash hit stage play Diamond Lil! It is a fine film to be sure. This movie has been selected by the American Film Institute as one of the best black and white movies of all time (it has also been recognized by other organizations like-wise).
Mae is fantastic in this comedy/drama about the escapades of 'Lady Lou.' This movie was a HUGE success and saved Paramount Pictures from bankruptcy when it was released because it made so much money. It was also nominated for an Academy Award.
The movie features Cary Grant (this is the film that made him a star) and there is magic in the air when Grant and West get together. It is full of legendary Mae West one-liners. When Mae tells Cary to 'come up' and see her sometime there is electricity in the air!! Mae drips with diamonds, funny sayings (that have since became history), fabulous gowns and amusing situations.
Of course this movie is in black and white, which may make it less desirable to some people. I was a bit surprised by some of the comments here, considering the legendary, classic status of this film. It is in every way one of the ALL TIME film classics, and should be viewed as such. This is not just my opinion; it is considered one of the true classics of all time. I would definitely recommend it, as do MANY organizations! It is a wonderful showcase for one of the greatest stars of all time.
- Classic Early-Talkie Comedy Deserves Its Classic Status 8/7/2004 12:00:00 AM by herbqedi
One of the seeming paradoxes of film-making is that historical period pieces age much better than movies set in the present or the future. That certainly is true of this classic comedy. Co-written by its star as a play called "Diamond Lil" about a turn-of-the-century chanteuse with no shame and her own standards of personal morals, She Done Him Wrong seamlessly blends the backdrop of turn-of-the-century New York politics with fast wisecracking patter and plot-lines that blend seamlessly. To me, it packs twice the action and four times the wit of one of today's comedies into about half the screen time.
This was Mae West's second movie, and it established her as an immediate star. Although not pretty even by the standards of the day and much less so by today's standards, she commands every man's attention by her very presence. Cary Grant flashes star quality in each of his scenes as the ideal foil to West. Filled with clever double entendres and disarmingly bawdy situations, She Done Him Wrong is every thing a period comedy should aspire to be, and more. The title is a role reversal on the refrain from "Frankie and Johnnie", the turn-of-the-century ditty West sings to begin the movie's climactic wrap-up.
Any movie lover willing to value this classic by the standards of the day is in for a treat.