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 »
EVERY DAY'S A HOLIDAY (Paramount, 1937), directed by A. Edward Sutherland, stars Mae West (who also wrote the screenplay), making her eighth and final screen appearance for Paramount. In spite of its most lavish scale production, with costumes designed by Schiaparelli, a fine assortment of veteran character actors, including Charles Butterworth, Charles Winninger, Walter Catlett and Herman Bing (do take notice that Mae West is the only female listed in the cast), and a good but not entirely memorable score, EVERY DAY'S A HOLIDAY reportedly did poorly at the box office when released in theaters during the Christmas season of 1937. Whether or not goodness of the story had anything to do with it, EVERY DAY'S A HOLIDAY ranks as Mae West's "cleanest" movie to date. Returning to the her favorite turn-of-the-century setting, it does provide some added bonuses, the most noted being having West masquerading as the dark-haired French entertainer named Mademoiselle Fifi.
The opening cast and credits features a festive background of fireworks before the story gets underway. The setting: New York City. The time: New Year's Eve, December 31, 1899. The central character: Peaches O'Day (Mae West), a confidence woman with a whole lot of confidence working on the wrong side of the law with 25 arrests to her record and no convictions. After the initial five minutes consisting of production number and the discussion involving Peaches between the corrupt Inspector "Honest John" Quade (Lloyd Nolan), ("he's so crooked he uses a cork-screw for a ruler"), and the honest law abiding Captain Jim McCarey (Edmund Lowe), Peaches makes her introduction riding on her horse and buggy cab across the Brooklyn Bridge presenting herself to the droll Larmadou Graves (Charles Butterworth), riding on his "horseless carriage," with her calling card: "Peaches O'Day, RSVP." Next scene finds her selling the Brooklyn Bridge to a Fritz Krausmeyer (Herman Bing) for $200, with bill of sale reading "One bridge in good condition." Aside from landing herself in trouble with the law ("I may crack a law, but I ain't never broke one") by cheating suckers, Peaches is admired by both Quade and McCarey. She prefers McCarey because he arrests her only to dismiss her case after he refunds the money to those she had cheated, particularly the latest buyer of the Brooklyn Bridge. Through Graves, Peaches later wins her friendship with his employer, Van Reighle Van Pelton Van Doon (Charles Winninger), an aristocrat who hasn't loved nor trusted a woman in 25 years, yet after seeing Peaches, becomes interested in her within 25 seconds. Later, Peaches is offered the leading role in an upcoming variety show, with Van Doon as her backer. Because she is ordered to leave town by Quade, "Nifty" Bailey (Walter Catlett), the show's producer, comes up with an idea by having Peaches leave New York and return later, reportedly from Boston, wearing a black wig disguised as a French entertainer, Mademoiselle Fifi. The amusement of the story picks up when Fifi becomes the toast of New York, with both John Quade (who fails to recognize her) and Jim McCarey (who sees through her disguise) not only trying to win her affections, but later to win an upcoming 1900 election as mayor of New York City.
Edmund Lowe, a fine actor with a distinctive voice, performs his task well as Mae West's leading man, either in the romancing department as well as using his fists on abductors trying to prevent him from attending his election by midnight, and on the corrupt Quade himself. Lloyd Nolan, a resident actor of numerous Paramount programmers during the late 1930s where his divers ability ranged from playing good guys or gangsters, is perfectly cast in a rare comedic role as the corrupt police inspector.
The musical numbers presented in the completed print includes: "Flutter By, Little Butterfly" (by Sam Coslow/performed by Irving Bacon, John "Skins" Miller, Allan Rogers and Otto Fries as the quartet, with chorus girls dressed as butterflies flying over the stage); "Mademoiselle Fifi" (by Sam Coslow/ sung by Mae West and all-male chorus); "Vote for McCarey," "Jubilee" (by Stanley Adams and Hoagy Carmichael/ sung by Louis Armstrong); and "Vote for McCarey" (reprise). Although the title song, "Every Day's a Holiday" is listed in the opening credits (by Sam Coslow and Barry Trivers), it is only heard as instrumental background music, with another "Along the Broadway Trail" which ended up on the cutting room floor. The legendary Louis Armstrong, seen briefly as a street cleaner, introduces the song "Jubilee" while parading down the street along with other street cleaners during the election rally. Mae West participates in this number with her sexy method of drum playing.
EVERY DAY'S A HOLIDAY was distributed on video cassette in 1992-93 by MCA Home Video to commemorate the centennial birth of Mae West, with an added bonus of a theatrical trailer preceding the feature presentation. Out of circulation on the television markets since the 1970s, it did get cable TV exposure in the early 1990s on the Comedy Channel.
While there's no such holiday as "Mae Day" honoring the legend of Mae West, EVERY DAY'S A HOLIDAY, which may not be high art, does include enough bright spots that make this one enjoyable. It may have marked the end of an era along with the closing chapter to West's association with Paramount, but not the end of the Mae West legacy. (**1/2)
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