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This mild little film is like untold dozens of minor musicals from the 1940's that were ground out by Columbia and Universal and pretty much forgotten and unseen since original release. What keeps this one in circulation is the fact that it top lines no less than Mae West, one of the cinema's greatest women stars. West was now on the eve of 50 when the movie was made, a good 20 years and then some older than most of the pinup girls that were packing in the moviegoers of the era. Presumably her limited options in Hollywood at the time persuaded to take a chance on this Gregory Ratkoff production. She took the project seriously enough to slim down, looking sensational in some gorgeous Walter Plunkett gowns and clearly spiced up some of her scenes with some uncredited but unmistakable original wisecracks. Alas, far too much time is given to musical numbers by other performers although glamorous black jazz artist Hazel Scott is fantastic in her productions. There is also perhaps a bit too much time given to the male leads, William Gaxton and Victor Moore, highly regarded Broadway stars of the era (co-stars in fact in four stage hits) but not actors who can carry a film. Even though the cast is talented and some of the musical numbers are quite good (I actually enjoyed Moore's comic number "They Never Look as Pretty as the Package"), you keep waiting for Mae West to appear on the scene again. I suspect this was true even in 1943 when her popularity was at a low point.
Mae West nevertheless manages to score some wonderful moments, notably the comic scene when Victor Moore comes up to see her sometime. Almost as good is West's confrontational scene with Moore's blue nose sister, character actress Almira Sessions. (It's interesting to note the film is one of the few times West is surrounded by performers older than herself, Gaxton, Sessions, and Moore have several years on her which may be part of the reason West looks fairly youthful in the movie in addition to being well-preserved). Starlet Mary Roche is featured as Moore's niece who longs for a show business career, her one musical number "Walbash" is actually quite pleasant but this is apparently her only film appearance, she later became a hairdresser in the film industry if that is indeed the same Mary Roche.
Some like it hot and this movie ain't so hot but we have so few Mae West movies to enjoy it is to be cherished in a way for another glimpse at one of America's great pop culture phenomenons.
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