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When her fiancée Buck Gonzales is killed, dance hall queen Cleo Borden inherits his wealth. Included are oil wells supervised by British engineer Carrington, whom Cleo sets out to win by becoming a "lady." She races her horse in Buenos Aires, gains social position by loveless marriage to bankrupt Colton, and even sings in an opera. But when she meets Carrington again, he's become the Earl of Stratton... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
On race day in Buenos Aires, some shots show the infield as puddled from rain to varying degrees with the track showing the effects of a recent downpoor, while other shots show both relatively dry. See more »
Reviewing the iconic Mae West feels like an exercise in futility. Today's audiences either "buy into" her supremely confident premise and enjoy her oeuvre, or reject her entire egotistic supposition and persona in general.
Going' to Town is the first West vehicle made under the Production Code, and it does somewhat pale in comparison to her earlier films. But still, what we find here contains a great deal to enjoy, even with the buxom star now somewhat muzzled and constrained. Here she is Cleo Borden (I love her character names every time!), an "on-the-level" saloon hall girl who inherits a windfall and attempts to go legit in high society in the Hamptons. Jealous and snooty Marjorie Gateson does everything in her power to stand in her way -- a plot contrivance familiar to West fans.
Firstly, Mae West always seemed to consider the guys in her audience, and here the film starts with an exciting action sequence featuring a chase on horseback with guns blazing. It plays more like something from a George O'Brien oater -- a neat and surprising way to open the proceedings actually. Before long the scene has shifted to Buenos Aires, where the story treats us to an actual horse race that's very nicely filmed in an extremely fast pace.
But the movie's plotting seems a tad overwrought, with perhaps a few too many admirers competing for both West's attentions and meager screen time. But then, fans of outrageous Hollywood fashion can feast their eyes on the haute couture that clothes the corseted blond star. And it certainly does add to the humor having a full-figured actress dominating the proceedings, and Mae West expertly keeps all eyes focused on her abundant charms -- if only to ascertain the reasons behind her supreme confidence.
So, everyone, get a load of Mae West as she rolls her eyes, smokes cigarettes, sings a few songs, steamrolls over her entire supporting cast, and flirts with every man around. That makes some outlandish entertainment that's not to be underestimated even today.
*** out of *****
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