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Turner Classic Movies just unearthed this turkey from their vaults and, being a fan of Mae West (though not an avid one), I thought I'd give it a whirl. Big mistake! (i.e., Big disaster!) After it had unspooled, TCM's host, Robert Osborne, revealed that producer-director Gregory Ratoff had somehow obtained Mae's signature on a contract to appear in this film without her seeing a completed script. When she did get an astonished look at what she was supposed to headline, she was "furious" according to Osborne, and promptly went to work rewriting most of her scenes, adding a few (but not enough) of her trademark witticisms.
The story is more than silly and takes little advantage of Miss West's star power, and, except for Hazel Scott's interpolated production numbers, there's almost no one else in the cast to match Mae's wattage. But she looks great, slinking around in Walter Plunkett's fancifully fantastic creations and Franz Planer's glossy black-and-white cinematography makes the most of the second-tier production values typical of a Columbia Pictures programmer.
Poor Victor Moore is required to portray a pathetic boob, intimidated by a battleaxe of a sister, quite effectively embodied by one Almira Sessions. The ingénue, played by Mary Roche, probably didn't elicit many wolf whistles when this dud was shown to the troops during WW II; Lloyd Bridges has a really small role as her swain (in uniform, of course); and there's an actor named Lester Allen, playing a character appropriately called Mouse Beller, who could only be cast in a role with that moniker.
Mae West quit performing before the cameras (going back to the stage and touring with her fabled nightclub act) and didn't make another picture until "Myra Breckenridge" in 1970 (and she was arguably the best thing in that crazy curiosity). This one is only for those fans who want to get a look at what Hollywood thought it could get away with during the wartime years.
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