Sextette (1978) Poster

(1978)

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Not a bad effort, but missed the boat.
Dave (davergod)20 February 2004
There are two ways to approach this movie: #1, as a film in and of itself. Or #2, as a showcase for Mae West.

As a film, it is mildly amusing in a weird, campy 1970s way. It's got a made-for-television look about it, and appears to have been filmed on a pretty low budget. The plot has to do with a legendary American movie star (West) in London for her marriage and subsequent honeymoon with her current husband (Timothy Dalton). Oh, and this is her sixth marriage, by the way---hence the title of the film.

The story is basically that they are unable to consummate their marriage, because various other men--- including nearly all of her ex-husbands--- keep showing up unexpectedly. The sexual aspect of the story is handled very delicately; you know what the husband wants to do with his wife, but it is never put forth directly, but rather by sort of Victorian-era implication.

If it seems like rather a flimsy story, that's because it is. There isn't much to it; there is some low-key comedy in the guest appearances of the ex-husbands (plus assorted other men, including an entire "American athletic team" whose presence in London is never explained. Perhaps they're training for off-season Olympics). The whole thing is handled as a complete farce--- there isn't one shred of reality in this film, which makes it seem unique in the era in which it was made. It's like a cartoon for grownups, with live actors playing the parts.

The real intent of "Sextette" was to be a cinematic showcase for the legendary Mae West. A lot of people outdid themselves in other reviews to say outrageously nasty things about her (or, in a couple of instances, equally outrageous heaps of praise for her). Maybe the best way to write about her in this movie, is to be a little more realistic and objective.

First of all, it's true that Mae West *was* 85 years old at the time of filming this. I'm not saying that because she looks it (she doesn't). I'm saying it because the whole movie makes such extreme efforts to ignore her age. No, she ISN'T supposed to be 20-something--- come on, people, do the math! Her character was married six times, so she's got to be in her forties at least! But she's definitely not playing "elderly", and this seems to freak a lot of people out. She's playing a healthy, attractive "mature" woman whose sex drive is unabashedly strong. There is no hint in the dialogue, or in the reactions of other men TO the character, that this woman might be very, very old (as is the actress playing her).

Therein lies the problem. 85-year-old Mae West was simply not up to the demands of playing this part. She was aging too rapidly; no, she didn't quite look 85, but in some scenes she did look old for probably the first time in her public life. (Photographs taken throughout the 1970s show her looking remarkably young). Put it this way: just eight years earlier, in 1970, West had played a similar "sexy" part in the movie "Myra Breckinredge". She'd been 77 years old then, and she was in good enough health and spirits to carry it off big-time. West was THE highlight of that earlier film. She was stylish, hip, quick-moving, quick-thinking, and she truly did look around fifty or so.... she looked young enough to make the part believable.

But by the time of "Sextette", she just didn't have it any more. She tried very hard, but her physical and mental limitations strained believability too much. A few basic problems: First of all, her wardrobe and hairstyle (obviously a wig) were decades out-of-date. In "Myra Breckinredge", she had looked hip and stylin'. In "Sextette", she looked like a relic.

Then there was her speech difficulty: no longer able to remember dialogue, West wore an earpiece under her wig (this is true, it's not some tabloid made-up story) to have her lines read to her by the director offstage. She would then repeat the line to the camera. This made her acting seem stilted, unnatural-- and unfunny. When somebody asks her if she's seen Big Ben, and she replies "I don't know.... I never met the gentleman", this line could have gotten a big laugh in better times. But here she "reads" the line as if from a piece of paper (or like she's straining to hear it in her earpiece): I-ne-ver-met-the-gen-tle-man". It sounds robotic, lip-synched, dubbed.

Then there are various technical flaws: her songs, for instance, which WERE lip-synched, weren't lip-synched very well. In "Baby Face", you can clearly see her get off the soundtrack. And "After You've Gone" sounds like it was slightly sped up. The soundtrack is tinny, the photography is blurry (particularly West's scenes; she looks fuzzy and too bright in many instances).

The movie wasn't an entire diaster for her. She does have a few good scenes. When she tells Timothy Dalton "The night is still young", she looks genuinely young herself--- filtered camera lens though it may be--- and she makes the line believable. In the Alice Cooper sequence, she also looks surprisingly young; and when she stands behind Cooper with her hands on his shoulders (as he's playing piano), she seems to be clearly enjoying herself. And a few seconds later, when she stands in the doorway--- her back to the camera--- she gives one last hip-twitch (the final "Mae West" screen moment of her career), and you have to chuckle a bit in good-natured admiration. 85 she may have been, but she was still out there working, still entertaining people in the best way she knew how. There's even a bit of poignance in that moment.

But the problem is, this film was played so strongly as a British farce, it works completely against the premise and the style of the whole movie to be feeling any poignance, or anything but a sense of robust comedy for the actress playing the lead. If you are aware of her BEING a frail elderly woman at any time, then the movie isn't meeting its own agenda. And that's what happens too many times. Except for a few fleeting moments, Mae simply wasn't at her best here. For a much better, funnier look at Mae West in the "later years", see "Myra Breckinredge". She was a hilarious scream in that one.
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On the set
scato3454 January 2003
There are only a very few moments of absolute awe which I can recall in my life. What is not reflected in the blurb about this film, and the comments referring to Miss West's embarrassing appearance in this film, is the effect she had on the cast and crew when she entered the set on the Paramount lot. We were in the "gym" waiting to begin shooting, talking and yapping away as actors will do at 7 AM before anything gets going, when the double doors to the set opened, and as each person turned and looked at the lady entering and realized it was Mae West, they fell silent - until you could have heard a pin drop or your heart beating just a bit faster and louder. Miss West may have been a poor shadow of what she had been years before, but she was still Mae West. Incredible as it may seem, at eighty years old she radiated a presence I have felt from very few others. Later on, while shooting a scene with her, and the director was loudly yelling at her through her ear-piece, rather than becoming angry at the rude treatment she was getting, she simply turned to me with that Mae West smile; and in one look she said, "It's okay kid, I'm Mae West, who the hell gives a damn about him." When I looked back at her, somewhat in awe, she winked. Ultimately, she did the take the way she wanted to do it. Maybe the public will never see that scene as I saw it played out, but I will never forget it.
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Top Ten Things I Love About This Film
Kenneth Anderson2 October 2003
I can't add anything to the comments already made about this time-capsule worthy film, but please let me list why it tops my camp favorite list:

1) The tinny musical arrangements! I've never heard a musical sound so small! There's one time when Mae West is lip-syncing to a song (rather poorly) and it kind of churns up like an old Victrola was being cranked.

2) Those waiters tap dancing on the carpeted stairs! With post-dubbed taps!

3) Mae's ONE decent hilarious line reading: (Following a knock on the door) DeLuise- "Who's that?" West- "It ain't opportunity!"

4) The male starlet who plays the "mascot" of the Olympic team! The way he extends his arm to shake Mae West's hand is pure Gloria Upson from "Auntie Mame."

5) The dancing bellboys and maids in the "Next" number...a hoot!

6) Timothy Dalton singing "Love Will Keep Us Together" to Mae West looks a little like a human version of one of those Kermit/Miss Piggy numbers from "The Muppet Show."

7) The cornball macho ad-libs and butch posturing of the Olympic team.

8) Miss West's semi wiggle/shuffle/ hobble thing she does when she's supposed to be walking. Her gowns are so long, why didn't they put her on rollers and push her into scenes? Sure would have pepped things up.

9) The ridiculousness of Keith Moon TRYING to act gay while surrounded by an entire cast of men who don't really have to try.

10) During Mae West's honeymoon interview with the press, the way the laughs to her jokes start and stop like a lid was being lifted and replaced on a Laugh-can.

I love this abomination of a movie. Long live ambitious filmmakers with no talent and legendary stars who never know when to pack it in!
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The Reigning Camp Queen!
Zen Bones29 May 2001
This is right up there with "Can't Stop the Music" as wonderfully inspired trash. I find it funny that so many people are offended by Mae's appearance and numerous flirtations in this film. These are the same yokels who laugh at Bob Hope or George Burns when they chat up a young babe. It's nice to see the tables turned. Mae is grand - there's no other word for her- and her statue-like appearance (due to God knows how many face lifts and layers of make-up) actually help to accentuate the nature of her cinema icon glory. She always was bigger-than-life.

The plot of this film and the musical numbers are truly terrible, but they're there merely as plot devices for Mae to strut her stuff, and for Timothy Dalton to rack up enough embarrassing moments to cancel out his entire career even if he makes it to Mae's age! This movie always was meant to be camp, since Mae has always been the reigning camp queen, but of course it also tried to pass as real Hollywood entertainment, which means that there's a lot of unintentional humor too. There are tons of witty lines, and it's fun to see this huge gallery of stars (I barely recognized Alice Cooper without his long hair and smeared mascara. He looked like Paul Jabara, which I bet was intentional). I would not recommend seeing this film on an empty stomach, as seeing Timothy Dalton breaking out into "Love Will Keep Us Together" will cause a severely nasty involuntary reaction. But for fans of true camp, this movie is an absolute must see!
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10/10
Comment from an actual insider!
formerHollywoodReporter8 January 2005
I was a journalist for fan magazines in the 70's and I had the great opportunity to interview Miss West several times for my respective magazines. I interviewed Miss West at her Hollywood apartment (the Ravenswood), and I also interviewed her on her "open" set during the production of her last film Sextette.

By "open" set, I am referring to the fact that the set was not closed and shut off to reporters. It was not shut off for me for certain and I can testify to that fact. I can also testify to the fact of what I observed during the filming of this movie. This movie would definitely have had a closed set if there were so much to hide concerning Miss West as has been mistakenly reported.

There were lots of overstated rumors and gossip concerning "hidden microphones," the so-called "in-ability" of Miss West to perform, etc. I know what I observed. There were rumors that Miss West stayed in the elevator for hours waiting for her "cue," rumors that Miss West was completely senile, etc. My observations did not prove any of those "rumors." Mae West did not stay in any elevator for hours waiting for someone to come and get her. That is a total, complete fabrication. I believe someone mentioned this here already and the fact is....that did not happen!

Now for the famous "hidden earphone" legend, which says Mae was, force-fed all her lines for this movie! That is absolutely asinine to the tenth degree. Make no mistake about it--Mae knew what she was up against in the making of this film, and she knew that she would be attacked, scandalized and otherwise lied about with many of the so-called "facts" before it was over. The ridiculous "legend" that she spoke "traffic directions" after prompting has been revealed by the principle players in this movie as completely false!!!! "It never happened," as Dom Deluise has publicly stated and truthfully so!!!

Miss West was not a zombie, was not senile, was not "out of it," in any sense of the word during the filming of this movie. That is a total and ridiculous lie. No one for a moment believed or thought that Mae was a "young hottie" as someone here criticized. Like-wise, no fair-minded person at all believed that she was a washed up has-been either, let me tell you that!

This woman had a presence that was unparalleled in the history of movies. When she came on the set, it was an unbelievable experience. She retained a remarkable screen presence and charisma. It was a true example of a Hollywood legend in every sense of the word. It is an outrageous insult and disservice to the career of this remarkable woman to perpetrate these lies any longer!!!

I find it repugnant that many of the people who comment here quickly dismiss this final effort by Miss West with their scathing comments and unjustified attacks. All these comments do truthfully boil down to her age in this film. Witness the constant comments here that Mae was playing a young woman, had her face taped back, blah, blah, blah, etc. The movie does not say that she is a young star, does not pretend that at all.

Every single comment made against this film was related (and only related) to Miss West's age in this movie. Are movie actors required to retire at a certain age? I don't think so, and if fact age should have (pardon me Miss West), "Nothing to do with it." As Miss West told me in an interview with her, "What am I suppose to do? Retire to a rocking chair? That would do me in for good!" Right Mae!

I interviewed Mae West at her Ravenswood apartment on North Rossmore Ave., during the filming of this movie. It was an experience I will never forget!!!! Mae humbly put the lie to the many, many rumors concerning her in that unforgettable interview. I inspected her skin for signs of plastic surgery (the telltale scars) and there were none!!! I inspected her lovely hair (what wigs are you talking about here?) and it was her own!!! Her hands were like that of a baby, so smooth, soft and young looking.

Mae had not a single wrinkle in her face, her body was firm, she had all her own teeth, and regardless of what you have heard or read elsewhere, she had her own hair. This was a woman who appeared to be decades younger than her true age. I was in a state of shock when I first saw her.

And she was super alert too, and she knew exactly what she was talking about--very professional and not at all the pathetic figure that some would like to now make her. In fact, she was so very amazing that it was unreal, and I suppose this could be the reason for rumors that this was not the original Mae West! Yes, one rumor that went around forever was that this woman was really the daughter of Mae West and not the original. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

There was an absolute magic in her personality and presence. This is something that is no longer in effect with the so-called stars of today. She had something called magnetism and a great personality, the likes of which will never be again.

Mae West delivered one hell of a good job in this movie when her age in figured in, and she was still up to it, still looked really good, and she gave it her all and it is damn well high time it is acknowledged!!!!!!! One final comment is (as mentioned here several times) the UK version of this movie is excellent quality, and not the poorer quality of the US releases. It makes a big difference!!!
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10/10
The Magic is still there for sure!!!
wonerfulsomba25 March 2006
Oh yes, the magic is still there for sure in the Queen of Sex's final film Sextette. Some people may attack her because of her age in this film, but in truth, this film is good fun and really campy! Miss West was also the Queen of Camp and she sure as hell delivered the camp in this one! She deserves honors, not attacks for still having the ability to deliver!! I have to admit I was absolutely dumbfounded when I saw this and the reason was because Mae West was still the Number 1 Queen of Sex for certain! She was such a darling in this, such fun, and so very good humored!!! It did my heart good and uplifted me in a way like I have never been uplifted to see her still strutting her magnificent stuff here! Man, was she an original and one-of-a-kind! There exists no other like her in all of movie history! She was so smart, so wise and so very wonderful, and it all shows in this -- her final movie. She still had what it takes, looking absolutely wonderful and so perky too!!! All those whispered rumors about her were absolutely that -- just gossip!!! She was and still is the greatest movie star in the history of film. She is so fantastic it is unbelievable!!! What forces came together to make this Empress of Sex???? I don't know the answer to that but I do know that she was one of the most fun loving, wonderful, magnificent film stars in all of movie history! What a woman!!! What an actress!!! And let me tell you that no other film star in history hung in there to the very end like she did and still had it!!! She has to be given credit for that no matter what else you may think!!! Who says a person has to give up on life, sex or anything else just because you reach a certain age???? Everyone should be able to identify with this durable, ageless wonder in that regard. She should be an inspiration to all, because all of us get older really, really fast, but Mae West proved that doesn't mean a thing!!! So stop attacking and get on the Westian bandwagon and celebrate!!! This movie is good natured fun, and a good damn movie in fact!!! Full of good natured fun and it proves that life doesn't end at any certain age and we should all be thankful to Mae West for that, bless her wonderful, wonderful heart!!!!
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10/10
SUPERB CONSIDERING ALL!!!
Stardustemail17 September 2004
I am sick of the comments here commenting on this movie in the negative. It is truly sad that the ones here would say some of the things they have said.

Mae West was (and still remains) one of the true legends in the history of Hollywood. Yes, she may not have been "young" anymore by any definition in this movie, but she was quite incredible in this film.

I do not know how anyone in their right mind could not give credit to someone in their 80's who managed to pull this off (and pull it off Miss West certainly did)!

I do not believe I can recall a single star in Hollywood who managed to give this good a "farewell" performance. This movie is certainly not bad at all BY ANY STANDARDS. The negative comments here ALL reflect West's AGE when they comment!!!

In fact, she was damn well pretty funny! Especially if you consider her age. And truthfully what in the hell does age have to do with anything?
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3/10
Ludicrous musical
Leofwine_draca11 January 2016
SEXTETTE is a throwback to the early years of cinema, where stars were larger than life and films threw in song and dance routines at regular intervals in the name of popular entertainment. It's also a vehicle for elderly starlet Mae West, at the tail-end of her career, playing a man-eater celebrating her wedding to a young toyboy (a visibly embarrassed Timothy Dalton). As the credits rolled, I had no idea what I'd just seen.

Clearly the director is in love with West and the film has been concocted as a tribute to her. But the format is very odd and old fashioned and West's appearance is rather shocking; her age is never mentioned so it's pretty weird to see her trying to play herself some fifty years previously. Often the narrative will break off to feature some filmed insert of West making one of her trademark wisecracks, which is bizarre in itself.

The music is pretty poor although there are endless guest appearances from a wide variety of folk in an attempt to entertain: Tony Curtis, Ringo Starr, George Hamilton, and Alice Cooper all show up here. Overall though, SEXTETTE is a ludicrous film, and I can't help but think that it would have been better to remember West as she was rather than as she is here.
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10/10
prequel to SEVEN?
ptb-820 April 2004
How demented is this film! What a crown pleaser! I showed this in the 80s at my cinema ...and to teenagers too! Often they came stumbling into the lobby gasping and choking in disbelief, some came to the ticket box and nervously asked if we knew what was unfolding on the screen. Very proudly I always told them I selected this film myself and made them watch it before the co feature (usually a Monty Python film)......hilarious! The kids were genuinely shocked..to them here was some mummified wedding cake granny sashaying about leering at men of all ages and fondling teen gym boys and various croaky old leading men...and Ringo Starr too......it absolutely rewired their funny little heads. Girls just screamed and screamed and screamed. They couldn't stop. Kids rioted in the stalls. I have never seen an audience behave like it. The noise could be heard blocks away. You should find a copy and show it to everyone you know. Mae West paid for this film herself as her swansong and it's a beauty! What a life! Bonkers maximus.
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8/10
West's Sundown
Plymouth-5815 August 1999
While not "I'm No Angel" or "She Done Him Wrong," Mae's last is no better or worse than some of her late '30s films. The direction tries too hard for outrageous ... and misses, but you'll get at least a couple of chuckles.
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1/10
How bad can a movie be? This bad
jjnxn-116 May 2013
Horrendous vanity production is of interest only to show how an out of control ego and years of self delusion can lead to a public shredding of an carefully constructed image. Mae is supposed to be the adored object of the world but her teetering presence and ossified appearance cause the viewer concern for her well being more than anything else. After decades of carefully maintaining her public persona she was somehow induced to return to the screen to sully her reputation with the double whammy of Myra Breckinridge and this abominable travesty. A horrifying train wreck of a film only to be watched by someone with a love of bad, really bad, cinema.
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10/10
Ultimate vehicle for the creator of 20th century Sex
scarab-427 May 1999
The ultimate vehicle for Mae West. Sure to be misconstrued by those who do not realize what Mae was up to, this campy delight is a true gem from the '70s. Part of the fun is watching Mae West's unconcealed joy in rolling out her legendary lines (and legendary body). The gleam in her eye as those droll words trip off her mischievous lips is delicious. To realize that here is The Female who caught onto sex at an early age and worked it for all it's worth is to appreciate this legend at her peak. Fans of Richard (all right, Ringo) Starr, Walter Pidgeon, George Raft, George Harrison, and Tony Curtis will appreciate their patsy cameos opposite irresistible Mae. The godfather take-off is a scream. Mae West always fancied her singing voice, and whenever this film allows it, she delivers: "Happy Birthday (Twenty-one)" and "Babyface" will never be the same. Surprisingly well produced and directed, here's an example of the vanity film at its best. Leaves you wanting it to go on, and on, and on. C'mon on up and see it sometime!
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8/10
I must have watched another film to some other people
dan-107114 April 2005
There is little I can add to a review of this film other than what has already been said by some others, some of which I agree with and some of which I don't.

After reading the reviews on here, I watched the film again to see if I was missing anything or seeing things I shouldn't but my opinion of the film remains the same.

Some of the performances are on the poor side of mediocre but West and Dalton are very definitely not in that category.

Unlike another reviewer has stated, Dalton was not dubbed for the duet. He actually recorded the track and then mimed to it on screen. It's the way tracks on all screen musicals are done, only in the theatre do the actors sing live and these days even that's not always the case throughout a whole song.

The line referring to Timothy Dalton's character as "England's number one spy" and "even bigger than 007" is seen by many as a coincidence 9 years before he was to go on and play the character, just the same as the reference to his character in an episode of "Charlie's Angels" as being a "James Bond-like figure", but by the time Dalton made both these appearances he had been offered the Bond role twice and turned it down for being, in his opinion, too young.

Anyway, back to the film. As I have said, I have thoroughly enjoyed it every time I have seen it (not that I sit there and watch it con continuous loop). West may be a little slower with her lines but she still delivers them convincingly, Dalton is entertaining and not just the eye candy he could have been in this film and there are some good contributions from the supporting cast. There are a few lame moments and some pedestrian scripting in parts but there are some choice moments such as West's already quoted "It ain't opportunity" line as well as the moment when Deluise knocks on the door telling West he has something urgent and West points at Dalton lying in bed and asks "Urgent? And what's that, chopped liver?" Quite! The punchbag sketch gave me the biggest laugh.

By the way, I agree that it is a disservice for IMDb to include a rumour as fact in the trivia section but this is unfortunately far from the only incidence of this on the site. Going back to the subject of James Bond, it quoted that Pierce Brosnan was the original choice for Bond in 1986 but had to turn the role down due to his "Remington Steele" commitments when the fact is that Brosnan was the THIRD choice after Dalton had turned it down again, this time due to the film he was working on having no set date for completion, and the role was only offered to Brosnan after it had been categorically turned down by the second choice, Sam Neill. This practice is sadly to the detriment of all the news that is reported on this site and subsequently shown to be accurate.

Anyway back to the fil. This film is generally far more maligned than it deserves and for all the wrong reasons. It is just a good bit of fun. I don't think it was ever meant to be seen as a cinematic, comical or musical epic but a complete nightmare it isn't.
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5/10
Dismemberment would've been easier to watch
decroissance13 July 2008
This movie is unreviewable. It was the most bizarre thing I have ever seen.

So, let's talk about Timothy Dalton! I didn't know this was a musical, so when he started saying the lines to "Love Will Keep Us Together", I thought...weird, that's that song. Then the music came on, and I thought, "...no. No! NO! He is NOT going to...NO! NO!"

It seems ironic that Timothy Dalton's career survived this, only to be derailed by Scarlett 16 years later.

Another odd note to his career is the number of times he's played roles that spoof James Bond. Even before he actually made the Bond films. Besides this movie, there was a Charlie's Angels episode. Then, after Licence to Kill, he played a Nazi spy in The Rocketeer, a Bond-type actor in Loony Tunes: Back in Action, and then, a bad guy in Hot Fuzz, with Bond references in his last sequence. Hysterical.

So that's five spoofs, versus two actual Bond movies. It's weird. This guy was meant to be Bond from the beginning -- Albert Broccoli was dying to have him -- but U.S. audiences didn't get it, and lawsuits prevented him from doing the role again while he was in his prime. What does it mean? And then he did Scarlett, in which he held a plastic bag over the head of his career. He appears to have issues with James Bond.

But back to this movie. I used to be a Sean Pertwee fan, and he made some truly gross films. But none of his dismemberments can compare to Timothy Dalton singing The Captain and Tenille. The humanity.

This movie did hold my interest. I don't want to think about why.
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1/10
Like watching a train wreck - it's horrible, but you can't take your eyes away!
global_dan16 March 2003
A lot of famous actors have ended their careers with atrocious movies, and this would have to be the high water mark. As a friend said, Mae must have been senile to agree to appear in this, otherwise how could she have let people put her through this?

The plot, for what it's worth, involves Mae's wedding night to a British noble young enough to be her grandson (played by Timothy Dalton) interrupted through the machinations of her agent by some of her ex-husbands, such as Ringo Starr, George Hamilton and Tony Curtis (who plays as if he truly appreciates the absurdity of the venture being undertaken), the search for a tape of her memoirs, and Mae somehow salvaging global peace at a diplomatic conference held at the hotel in London she is staying at. Cameos from others such as Rona Barrett and George Raft (Mae's first screen co-star in 1932, who grimaces through his scene with Mae in the elevator as though he regretted agreeing to do it) abound.

The story though is the least reason to watch. Rather, watching a mummified 86 year old hobbling her way through double entendres, holding herself up against candelabras during musical numbers and being treated by all and sundry as if she were Venus de Milo herself beggars description. A subplot concerning doubts about the sexuality of her new husband seems to miss the fact that doubts about any of the performers' sexuality would have to exist, not least a ludicrous number where members of the American athletic team cavort adoringly around Mae.

The director seems to have made a conscious decision to film scenes in such a way as to minimise Mae's screen time, and when she is in view of the camera it makes sure that it never gets too close. The fact that Mae appears to have dunked her head in a bowl of make up and is filmed through what appears to be guaze seems to indicate that all others concerned were at least trying to take pity on the poor woman while at the same time humoring her.

The musical numbers themselves are side splittingly funny (it's hard to pick a highlight, but one number which could best be described as Mae West does disco would have to take the cake!), Mae's costume changes look like an expensive Edith Head designed drag show, and Mae cracking unabashed double entendres while staring cross-eyed through heavy lids ("I want them to say the British are coming") is mind boggling. Mercifully the audience are spared a sex scene, or even a kiss between her and Dalton, which would have crossed the boundaries of good taste.

I can't begin to comprehend who thought this could be a good idea (if Mae wasn't senile, let's hope she was extremely self-deprecating) but I honestly can't understand why this movie isn't more of a cult classic. I gave it one star but it is so bad it's good. It's like watching a train wreck - no matter how bad it gets, you keep watching because you know it's going to get worse! I need to watch it again this time looking for the evidence of Mae using a cane and having an ear piece through which her lines were fed to her.
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2/10
Some people just don't know when to quit apparently
Allexander Lyons3 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Mae West was, and still is, an icon. She had a swagger and a gift for naughty double entendres that both titillated and outraged the American public. She was a person who was not above using her feminine wiles to her advantage and she did all of this in her early forties at a time when Hollywood was even more unforgiving to middle-aged actresses. Even now, nearly a century after she burst onto the scene, her influence can still be seen in the likes of Madonna, Gwen Stefani and Cristina Aguilera.

However, by the time she made "Sextette," she was well over eighty and still trying so hard to be "Mae West" that she had devolved into a parody of herself. Decked out in a giant platinum blonde wig, slathered with enough makeup to attend her own funeral and long, bodice-covering dresses obviously meant to hide the ravages of time on her body and her increasing waistline, this was not Mae West. This wasn't even the same Mae West who appeared in "Myra Breckenridge" eight years earlier. This was some two-bit drag queen's impersonation of Mae West. Apparently, even the director for this film knew it too, as he bathed her in enough soft white light to make Barbara Walters envious.

You can argue all day long about whether a woman of such advanced age has a right to think of herself as sexy or whether or not the rumors about her using earpieces or being wheeled around the set are true, but the fact is, she just doesn't have it anymore in this film and it is just painful to watch. She has noticeable trouble moving, some of her lines seem off, and all of her songs are either obviously lip-synched or spoken-word numbers where she doesn't have to exert herself trying to sing. The fact that she has men young enough to be her grandchildren fawning over her only highlights the cognitive dissonance between who Mae West thinks she is and who she actually is.

The plot for this movie is ridiculous and doesn't pretend to be serious, so I won't go into much detail, just that Marlo Manners' (Mae West's character, as if it really matters) honeymoon night with her sixth husband (Timothy Dalton, would you believe) is mercifully interrupted by a parade of past ex-husbands, movie shoots, and world peace talks that have stalled because one of the ex-husbands is involved and wants one more night of passion with our geriatric sexpot before he'll make nice with the rest of the world's leaders.

Also there's a missing cassette tape that Marlo doesn't want anyone to get their hands on despite the fact that she was using it to record her autobiography. If you don't want people knowing about your past exploits, why would you record an autobiography? Why would you record them period? The plot only exists to build up Mae West as a memetic sex goddess anyway, so who cares?

I won't go into the acting too much either, except that Timothy Dalton does a surprisingly good job considering he's playing a man who's anxious to get into an octogenarian's pants. West herself seems to have lost her comedic timing in her old age which does lend some plausibility to the earpiece urban legend. Other standouts include a cardboard Russian stereotype played by Tony Curtis, a cardboard mobster played by George Hamilton and a cardboard camp gay fashion designer played by… Keith Moon? Other bizarre casting choices include Ringo Starr as a prima donna film director and yet another ex-husband and Alice Cooper as a singing bellboy in a horrible wig that makes Mae West look good by comparison.

And that brings us to the next point: this movie is a musical… even better, a DISCO musical! This just wouldn't be a 70's period piece without bad musical numbers, now would it? The musical selection ranges from bad to hilariously bad from the opening number where Mae West's ego is massaged by a choir who declare her to be a "living dream" and compare her to Venus de Milo to Miss West mumbling her way through a disco-fied update of "Baby Face." The bellboys pay tribute to Marlo as she arrives to her hotel with a song-and-dance rendition of "Hooray for Hollywood" that comes off as a big lipped alligator moment due to how poorly set up it is and finally, we have the "duet" between West and Dalton of "Love Will Keep Us Together". I use the term "duet" loosely as Dalton caterwauls through most of the song while West occasionally wakes up just long enough to mumble a few words here and here.

Mae West wanted so badly to prove that she still had it by making "Sextette," but proved just the opposite instead. She was already in such bad shape that she would only live for two more years. However, despite the horrifying train wreck that this movie is, a part of me can't help but admire having the chutzpah to declare oneself sexually desirable at an age when most people are wiling away their days in a nursing home. I can't decide whether to be appalled or inspired when watching this movie.

Maybe it's both.
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Dom DeLuise singing "Honey Pie". 'nuff said?
EyeAskance31 August 2004
This cross-eyed anticlassic is a virtual chasm of feckless impropriety, and easily one of the worst musicals ever made. Two-hundred-and-fourteen-year-old Mae West shuffles about in the feathers and beads of her youth, callomaniacally adoring her petrifying visage in anything that casts a reflection(beneath the golden locks of her enormous and very obvious wig, there must have been at least 15 pounds of Scotch tape and rubber bands straining to reverse the gravitational causatum of many passing decades). An unlikely multitude of male admirers fall over themselves in desperate competition for her affections, while the very pallid and disoriented looking Ms. West spouts her famed pre-code one-liners as though they were fresh as a spring rose.

A jaw-dropping trainwreck boiling over with callithumpian musical numbers, SEXTETTE is a treasure trove of unpremeditated humor. Essential viewing for those with a fondness for kitsch, but true-blue fans of Mae West might opt to cover their eyes and ears.

3.5/10
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Come Up And See Her Sometime...
a bradford19 May 2005
I saw this movie on TV several years ago and thought that I would hate it after reading so many terrible reviews. It's true that this is a movie aimed mainly at Mae West fans and it was made about 40 years too late. But the production values are high and the acting is great. Mae looked good for her age and it was the only film offer she had received in a while. Like Mae said 'if I don't work what should I do, sit in a chair all day and rock'. The movie is good fun and it is nice to see Mae having such a good time. There were lots of stories being told at the time she made this about her mental and physical condition but these nasty stories which we all heard were proved to be false. Long live Mae
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10/10
MIGHTY, MIGHTY MAE WEST!!!
yolandadare23 October 2003
Ok, I have seen all the negative comments here and I do say that I agree with Ray Pierce, Planet 9, Sex-symbol fan and others that the attackers who attack this movie are age-prejudiced sickos.

I actually got to meet Mae West when I was only 16 years old in 1979! I waited for days in the lobby of the Ravenswood apartment building where Mae lived (I lived in LA then). Finally the magic happened and believe me it WAS MAGIC!!!! The guy at the desk set me up to meet the GREAT MAE and UP I went...to the sixth floor to that famous apartment where Hollywood's GREATEST sex symbol lived.

It was NOTHING but PURE MAGIC!!! I could not believe how sweet and WONDERFUL Miss West was (especially to see a young girl like me). She was in her eighties. but I have NEVER seen a MORE beautiful looking woman than she was!!! She was so alert, so kind and nice that I could not believe it!!! I could NEVER believe her age, because she had absolutely FLAWLESS skin ALL OVER her body!!! She let me inspect her hair, her teeth, her skin and she was just like a baby!!! Baby soft skin, amazing energy, wonderful THICK hair and she proved ALL THE LIES about her were just that--A BUNCH OF LIES!!!! She was extremely witty, extremely intelligent, EXTREMELY ALERT and she knew what she was talking about!!! She was actually a VERY tiny woman, although she photographs bigger. Her body was fantastic!! I was amazed at 16 years old. Here I was at 16 and I was flabbergasted by this amazing, TRULY ASTONISHING woman!!!

She signed an autographed picture for me (which I still have) and I actually nearly fainted from the experience. ALL THE LIES TOLD ABOUT MAE were PROVEN to be just that when I met her...NASTY LIES!!! I will NEVER FORGET this woman, will NEVER, EVER see another person who has such STAR QUALITY as long as I live!!!

Now for the movie. Mae told me she did this for her fans because they kept writing to her asking her to do something else and so she just decided to do it!!! I did see Sextette at the premiere in Hollywood and it was an event that will NEVER be equaled!! People were climbing up the telephone poles to try to get a better look at her (that does not happen with other stars)! When she came on the stage (personal appearance) the fans went nuts!!! It was awesome!!! There were guys there dressed in drag as Mae and it was something that can never be forgotten. People actually stood up and cheered when she came onscreen!!!

This movie is MUCH BETTER than many give it credit for and lots of critics and books have called for a re-evaluation of this movie! It is cool, MAE was COOL and there will NEVER, EVER be ANYONE LIKE her EVER AGAIN!!! She must have been an angel or something, but all I know is that "Goodness, DEFINITELY had something to DO WITH IT"! I LOVE YOU MAE WEST!!!!!
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1/10
"Marriage is like a book...the whole story takes place between the covers."
moonspinner5510 July 2016
Movie star Marlo Manners walks down the aisle for the sixth time; her latest love is a rich, titled Brit, but their honeymoon plans are thwarted by her work, her ex-husbands hanging about, and by an international conference taking place in the same ritzy hotel. It would be easy to criticize this harmless comedy, the final cinematic bow from Mae West, based on the fact it is nothing more than a showcase (i.e., vanity project) for its star, adapted from her 1926 play, "Sex"; and yet, all it aspires to be is a frivolous enjoyment for fans, with campy musical numbers, grinning musclemen in a gymnasium sequence, a mini-fashion show (with Mae modeling elaborate Edith Head ensembles) and one-liners galore. What's fair is to say the movie looks cheap and terrible, and most of the supporting performances are terrible, and our star (84 years old at the time of filming) can hardly move around. Timothy Dalton is breezy as Mae's spouse (who tells columnist Rona Barrett he feels 'gay', leading her to believe he's homosexual), and the two have a lovely duet on "Love Will Keep Us Together"; also, Dom DeLuise has fun singing the Beatles song "Honey Pie" while tap-dancing on a piano. Still, no U.S. movie studio wanted to distribute the film after it was produced independently, so the production team released it themselves, meaning that somebody believed in the picture and thought it was worth the effort. Not exactly a happy Hollywood ending for Mae West, though it allowed her a small bit of renewed glory before her death in 1980. * from ****
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5/10
What?
msalensky16 February 2016
This film was mediocre at best. Ms. West was at her best during the early part of her career. This was her mostly self funded swan song. Some of her friends were asked to and accepted parts in order to salvage a so so screenplay and somewhat better original play penned by Ms. West.It had its moments but thats about it

Further interest was peaked when I read a review dated 2006 from someone who not only gave it a "10", but for a better word drooled over Ms. West for most of his review. He also stated that she was not just one of but "the greatest actress of all time". What?????. I believe he needs to get out of the house more often.
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A valiant effort by a living legend
thedoctorisnot16 November 2006
One of the first Mae West films I ever saw was Myra Brekenridge. The film was OK up to a point but when Miss West enters the auditioning for leading men only.....I was mesmerized. I couldn't believe she was pushing eighty (assuming her birth year was 1890ish). From that point on I was determined to find Sextette. Fortunately, the video store purchased a copy for me. It was a pretty good film the first few times I saw it, but then I began to study it. There were a few scenes I saw that made me pause. It seemed that she had to be cued to say her lines. Usually when a flash bulb went off. For example, the the hotel lobby scene, when she says "well, if it wasn't my wedding night, you'd have a deal". Look for the flash just before the line is said. Another example was during the song "Hooray for Hollywood" It appears that Timothy Dalton has to really tug on her to get her to follow him. After closer examination, I think she sees an opening in the crowd, so she may have thought that was where she was supposed to go. Timothy REALLY tugs on her to get her to follow. Other than that, it is a film that will be cherished by her fans, for whom it was made. Still a good view.
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10/10
SEXTETTE is a GREAT MAE WEST film!!!!
sexsymbolfan25 August 2002
Sextette! This movie, which has been unfairly attacked by so-called....uhhh...."critics," is a fun, entertaining film! The fact is that SO MANY "facts" about this movie are UNTRUE that it is unbelievable! The "critics" attack Miss Mae West unmercifully because of her age in this film. That is VERY UNFAIR! Mae West was (and still remains) the GREATEST STAR in the history of the WORLD!!! She is incredible in Sextette and HIGHLY ALERT (despite what age-prejudice critics say), and she is very FUN too in this delightful gem of a movie!!! No star in the history of Hollywood could EVER compare to the uncomparable MAE WEST! What is amazing about this film is that Mae STILL delivers the sexy, CAMPY fun, just as she ALWAYS did!!! One person here told the truth and that was that Mae was not playing a "young" star in this film. The movie does make plain that she is a LEGENDARY star from the golden days of Hollywood. And the PLAIN fact of the matter is she DELIVERS like a TRUE MEGA-SUPERSTAR would do!!!! She is STILL SEXY, WONDERFUL looking, and incredible every INCH of the way!!! Mae was determined to make this movie for her fans and she DID do so and DID A GREAT JOB!!!! If one is not a Mae West fan then one may not like this flick. I say TOO BAD!!!! A TRUE MAE WEST fan will RELISH it!!! All of Mae's WONDERFUL antics are in this film. SHE HAS LOST NONE OF THE MAGIC!!! This is a VERY UNDER-RATED film and ANYONE who dares criticize it SUCKS!!! One more thing......Mae West herself would defend all you who do SUCK, because she was just that kind of woman!!!! She ALWAYS defended those who do suck and ALL the self-professed "critics" here do SUCK to the maximum!!!! I want to see any of these so called "critics" accomplish what Mae West did in this film and then I will call you a true LEGEND. You can't do it, WILL NOT ever do it, and the fact of the matter is you will be justly rewarded for your hate-filled, prejudiced attacks on a TRUE HOLLYWOOD SUPER-SUPER STAR!!!!
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Well...Mae West...does her best!!!
bfjrnski7 May 2003
To truly appreciate "Sextette" one has to truly appreciate Mae West!And to truly appreciate Mae West one must know and understand her life and her persona!Just forget any other Hollywood actress!Mae West stands alone in a class by herself!She is entirely her own creation and spent her lifetime maintaining and nurturing that creation!There exists a few GOOD books about her!And even her autobiography sheds light on HER view of herself and her effect on the world(as she believed it revolved around her!) Mae West was a small,husky,talented,brassy girl from Brooklyn who decided early in life to become a sexy,living legend long before she finally arrived in Hollywood (at age 39) She succeeded at a time when overweight and overaged leading ladies were unheard of!(they still are!) Everything from her golden hair,her hourglass figure,her purring voice and sassy,hip-swinging strut she devoloped through years of self-discipline and self-worship!By the time she became a world-famous movie star she was already in her 40s,wearing wigs,corsetts,wedge-heels,practicing exercises and birth-control devices decades ahead of her time! Which,of course,brings us to "Sextette" Based on a musical play of her own creation it would seem almost inconcievable to have anyone else portray her character!And remember,Mae West WAS her own character!The blond wigs,slinky gowns,diamonds and furs were STILL part of Mae's everyday persona well into her 80s!This was a woman who never had children nor cared for anyone but herself!SHE BELIEVED in her ageless,sexy siren and all that came with it!By all accounts Mae was remarkably agile and well-preserved!It would have been nice to have seen her WITHOUT the gauzy photography and artificial get-up!
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5/10
Mae West, Queen of the Hustle
Kingkitsch29 December 2014
What exactly can anyone say about "Sextette"? Ostensibly a Seventies-era reworking of Mae West's 1926 play "Sex", this movie exists within it's own continuum of both camp and sadness. You either laugh at the complete absurdity of it all or feel a deep pity for everyone who signed on to participate in the hot mess the whole enterprise turned into.

West, who was in her mid- 80s at the time of filming, had been rediscovered by audiences who had no idea who she was by appearing in Michael Sarne's career killing version of "Myra Breckinridge" (1970). Mae's infamous feud with Rachel Welch during the filming of "Myra" brought her into the public eye again, so six years later, "Sextette" was trotted out to cash in on Mae's newfound camp appeal. The time had passed for Mae to be nothing other than a caricature of herself, there's a certain cruelty evident when she appears on screen here. No special effects could hide the years Mae was carrying, she looks like a mummy slathered with makeup and topped with a gargantuan blond wig. She arthritically weaves, wobbles, sashays, and gives her all in a performance that uses her most famous double-entendres. The poor thing tries, but she's now a visibly tired cartoon. A dirty joke about a supposed sex- bomb who's decades old and a horny granny to boot.

Newly wed Mae cavorts in a British hotel with her young husband (Timothy Dalton) in a farce straight out of the 1930s. Several plots are running simultaneously: a global peace initiative is taking place at the hotel, Mae's tape recorded diary (on a pink cassette) of her marriages and sexual secrets has gone missing, the British press thinks her new husband is gay, American muscle-men are working out at the hotel, and nearly all of Mae's ex-husbands are wandering around the joint interrupting her wedding night. Mae contends with all the madness around her by constantly changing her Edith Head costumes, which are anachronistic in the extreme and verbally sparring with the ex- husbands played by Ringo Starr, Tony Curtis, and George Hamilton. Mae sidles up to the muscle in the gym, evidently clueless to the fact that they're all more interested in each other than they are in her, and finally saves the world at the peace summit talks. Throw in many sad cameos and the last film appearances of Mae, Walter Pidgeon, and George Raft. Throw in musical numbers that border on the surreal. Add a soundtrack by Van McCoy, the composer who gave the world the disco anthem "The Hustle". Mr. McCoy gives Mae a frightening disco-ized version of "Baby Face" to warble, a bizarre "Hooray for Hollywood" production number, and the inimitable Dom Deluise belting out the Beatles' "Honey Pie" while faking tap dancing on top of a piano. Rockers Keith Moon and Alice Cooper show up. All this, and more.

Undoubtedly, this whole enterprise probably sounded like a good idea at the time. Hollywood legend returns and everyone gets down to Boogietown! Boffo box-office! In reality, no one cared or paid to see this. Mae died two years after making this, which is very sad indeed. Instead of going out remembered as an icon, she went as a mummy looking for sex and wasting 80-odd (very odd) minutes on a set up for the last line in the movie. "Sextette", then, is an artifact from the era of platform shoes and pet rocks, two things no one needed even at the time. Best viewed after ingesting LSD and wearing polyester clothing.
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