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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. Its earliest documented telecasts took place in Seattle Tuesday 12 May 1959 on KIRO (Channel 7), followed by Pittsburgh 14 October 1959 on KDKA (Channel 2). It was released on DVD as a single 17 June 1998 by Image Entertainment, and again 8 March 2016 as one of nine titles in Universal's Mae West: The Essential Collection. See more »
Did any actor's career suffer from the production code as Mae West's did?...
...well, maybe Warren Williams' career perhaps, but that's another story.
Set in 1890's San Francisco, West is hamstrung by the two year old production code, and it shows, especially in the watered down dialogue and lack of double entendres. The films' highlight is about fifteen minutes into the movie as West sings "I'm an Occidental Woman in an Oriental Mood For Love". The Code censored the overtly sexual lines, but they missed enough that the first 35 minutes is pleasant. It's when West starts trying to pass as a missionary(?!) that the film becomes actively painful.
West looks like she's gagging on the mealy mouthed dialogue set in Nomes' missionary center. The film misses numerous opportunities for fun. West gets screen credit for the script, but from the sanctimonious tone of the scripts' second half, I'd say she got "help" whether it was wanted or not.
West is truly the whole show. The Code censored her words, but they couldn't censor her eye-rolling gagging air of supreme confidence, or her way of making an innocuous line an innuendo.
Not as good as I'd hoped or as bad as I'd feared, it is worth the watch, just realize the film peaks early.
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